Sunday, January 11, 2009

Everyone Their Own Projector by William Kentridge

Several months ago at the Art Book Fair organized by Printed Matter Inc, I found a great new book by William Kentridge called Everyone Their Own Projector published by Captures Editions. This is an artist book made up of 102 collage and drawings on pages of text torn from various textbooks and encyclopedias complete with scientific diagrams.

The title, Everyone Their Own Projector, seems to be decrying a promise of betterment, or maybe it is identifying with how we perceive life filtered through our own experience - we are all projectors. Kentridge's perceptions here are filtered through history and art with evident traces of the Russian revolution (especially the Russian avant-garde), sexuality, technology and a healthy dose of political resistance. Many of these themes had permeated Kentridge's work before but here it is less identified with South Africa and apartheid.

Last year at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York much of Kentridge's show contained a room of sculptures with his latest character Gogol's nose. Those bronzes, based loosely on the Gogol short story, showed this olfactory protagonist astride horses and in the quest of higher social standing. In Projector, the nose shows up in many of the plates comically weaving his way into history and even bedding down a few of the female art historical subjects.

I have been told that this is a facsimile of an actual artist book and the hand drawn page numbers that appear in the bottom right corners attest to this. Captures Editions has produced Projector on a cream colored paper much like his flip-book Cyclopedia of Drawing I had written about last January. The reproductions are beautifully done and render his watercolor and paper ephemera constructions wonderfully. Projector has a handmade, sketchbook quality down to a book cloth covered spine. It was printed in an edition of 1500 copies and 120 were released signed with a lithograph. Although the regular edition retails for a little over $100.00, it is well worth the cost for such a fine item. The flipbook Cyclopedia of Drawing has become a very sought after collectible.