09 June 2015

artists books and atriums

Back in the late 1990s, I bought a small artist's book at Printed Matter when it was still on Wooster Street. It was only a couple bucks and had no identifying text. The clerk said that the artist came in every once in a while, dropped off some copies of a book, didn't give his name, didn't ask for reimbursement, just left the books and left. Actually, it has no text at all; it is just drawings of geometric shapes looking like flags, floorplans, architectural details, or objects.

When I was at the Estudio Carlos Garaicoa in Havana a couple weeks ago, there was an artist's book that had a similar feel but rather larger in size and with less busy pages. It also had a title page and statement of authorship: Loidys Carnero.
I thought maybe I'd found my artist even though the geographic difference argued against it. I checked Carnero's webpage and he wasn't born until 1982 in Havana so not at all likely that he was dropping off books at Printed Matter as a teenager.

What I also discovered at Carnero's webpage were some pictures of his Visita Guiada (Guided Tour) project from 2012 in which he revisited the sites in a 2004 Stan Douglas photographic project which had appropriated the settings of a 1968 film "Memories of Underdevelopment" by Cuban filmmaker Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. Talk about layers of memory and revisiting. One of the images in the Visita is identified as the Presidio on the Isla de la Juventud.
(You can see a bigger version of the photo on the artist's webpage, this being the thumbnail from the webpage.) Those of you that followed me on the road trip in March will not be surprised that I was reminded of the West Baden Springs Hotel in southern Indiana.
For accommodations, I imagine the hotel beats the prison.

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