Saturday, January 3, 2009

Suits: London, Tokyo, Osaka, New York 2007-2008, Facts & Fiction 1929-2008 by Katja Stuke



Katja Stuke is a conceptual artist/photographer who has an interesting new artist book that I found in Paris through Markus Schaden entitled, Suits: London, Tokyo, Osaka, New York 2007-2008, Facts & Fiction 1929-2008.

Stuke combines photographs and video grabs of men wearing business suits that explore the various conflicted impressions that business attire can create. In a day and age where corporate bail-outs creates the supposition that the wealthy get off with a free pass when the economy collapses, it is understandable that much of the content here has a sinister edge cloaked in elegance.

Stuke acts the part of a curator, gathering images from historical and contemporary sources, all of which have the common denominator of being designated as a "type." Images from films like Wall Street and even a Leonard Freed photograph of 1950's business men in Lower Manhattan keep us thinking of the continuous style and image of "business" while modern newspaper photos, blown-up to reveal the offset printed dot patterns seem to point at a darker vision.

Suits is an inventive form for a book with 11 x 14 size images folded in half and inserted into one another. The whole assemblage is held together by a vertically running rubber band. This unique binding technique makes it possible to view only half of any image at a time, creating interesting and seemingly random connections between each page. By only presenting half of each photo you may experience seeing only a shoulder of one man on one page while a blown up video still shows an entire figure talking on a cellphone on the facing. Although Katja has assembled the book with thought, it is possible to slip the rubberband off and jumble the pages to create hundreds of possible pairings.

Suits: London, Tokyo, Osaka, New York 2007-2008, Facts & Fiction 1929-2008 was published by Bohm Kobayashi Publishers in a very limited edition of only 150 copies. Each copy is numbered and comes with a thick belly/obi band that holds the book closed.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sound like a nice little artist book that I would buy if it cost $10-$20 at Printed Matter. Not $120at Schaden. Why not try to support some local booksellers if the economy is of such importance to you. Review what you want but stop blowing air up Markus's ass. Buy AMERICAN!

Jeff Ladd said...

You're a fuckin idiot.

JS said...

It's a pity that most fucking idiots prefer to post their lucid ideas anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1 sounds like a patriotic scoundrel, tactless and crude. But he does have a point about price. It's just that us photo nuts are kind of thrifty in these tough times.

Jeff Ladd said...

Thanks for the comments. I just want to point out that this is an artist book. It is only 150 copies not 1500. I think since this was done in such a small run and put together by hand that it was extremely disrespectful for someone to say it was worth "10 or 20 dollars." Thrift is a valid reason to pass up expensive items but I could point to hundreds of other titles that are as costly and mass produced (not by hand) that no one bats an eye at.

It is also not available anywhere in the US to my knowledge - not Printed Matter or Dashwood etc.

Sorry to lower the level of discourse but I love people telling me what I can and can't do with my own blog.

verninino said...

Oh dear Jeff, you being such a constant source of gracious and reasonable discourse I really didn't think you had that in you. Apparently Stuke isn't the only one with a "sinister edge cloaked in elegance."

;)

Since I generally avoid haberdasherers and their glosses and their simulacra my interest in this was very low. But after that addendum, my curiosity is piqued.

Anonymous said...

Yes Verninino you should order the book right away before it sells out. Jeff failed to mention that it was hand sewn in the black forest by the fat prison guard from Lina Wertmuller's "Seven Beauties"

Anonymous said...

True, it's not a bad price for an artist's book. As a matter of interest, Raymond Meeks' new offerings ("nevermore" and "orchard") - also 'artist books' - are retailing at $490 on photoeye.

Katja Stuke said...

I can't believe that I'm doing this – posting to a discussion about my work – but I have to add two things: You can get the book in NY at Dashwood – he ordered it, I sent it he should have it.

About the price: Anonymous, I don't know your oppinion about how artists earn some money: but selling books or editions for less than the production costs (not to mention all the work...) and sharing this with the bookseller is not the best idea...

By the way: You can get older stuff of me / me together with Oliver Sieber also at Printed matter and I hope they will sell the latest publications also soon. so check your local dealer – but maybe only by stuff by american artists...