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Below are some highlights from the booth of Jason Rovito, Bookseller, at FLAT 2019. Items are guaranteed to be described and delivered to the collector's satisfaction. Returns are accepted within 10 days of receipt. Reciprocal terms are extended to the trade; institutional policies are accommodated. For purchases, please phone (+44) 0778 482 3526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org; priority given to first interest. To receive advance copies of future lists, subscribe to our mailing list. Specific wants are always welcome, from both new and established collectors.
Costa, Claudio / Caminati, Aurelio
Indagine su una cultura. Monteghirfo, 4 ottobre 1975. Monteghirfo: Il Museo Attivo di Antropologia, circa 1975. € 4500 Handmade artist book. Green cardstock covers (38 x 28 cm.), laminated in plastic and fastened by two bolts. With titles stenciled in black to front cover. Hand-stamps to both recto and verso of rear cover identifies this work as issuing from "Museo Monteghirfo, A.C. - C.C." Contents across 14 leaves (recto/verso) secured by laminate sleeves: 122 photographs (9 x 12 cm., or the reverse), 14 of those in colour, with a dozen manuscript captions inscribed in ink directly onto leaves. A handful of photographs appear to have been removed. Accompanied by: two typescript documents (stapled together) issuing from this project: Monteghirfo: Museo di Antropologia (Sezione Arte Moderna), 9 pages (illustrated with map and photocopy of 3 photos),and Controprocesso: “verifica per una processualità contro-.” (Rilettura e trascrizione animate di alcuni riti presenti a Monteghirfo), 11 pages (also illustrated with map and photocopy of 3 photos). The documents stapled together under tall wrappers (32 cm.), with official Museo stamp and further hand-stamp (“Il Segretario”) to bottom of front cover. Hand-numbered as 23 of 99.
“Il Museo di Monteghirfo è stato attuato nell’intento di ristabilire il preciso rapporto che un oggetto fabbricato a mano ha con l’uomo, e per riproporre quell minimo spazio originario che una cultura periferica ha usato per la sua sopravvivenza e che, se ritrovato, restituisce alla conoscenza, alle emozioni, alla fantasia, la sua intatta carica di autenticità.”
In 1975, in partnership with fellow Ligurian Aurelio Caminati, Costa sought to move beyond the voyeuristic tendency in anthropology, as well as the museological provocations of Duchamp, by developing a practice of “active anthropology.” Rather than transport everyday objects into the Museum (in a bid to disrupt that institution’s sacred aura), Costa instead attempted to mobilize that very aura for productive purposes; to transpose it onto “historical” objects, in situ, to help them recover their “anthropological statute.” (Hence Costa’s politics: “Specialized science has restriced the space of things. All we need to do is give space to things to see what they were once like: the field will be a field and not land for property construction.”)
Costa and Caminati thus inserted themselves within the out-moded / threatened peasant culture of the Ligurian countryside, where they occupied a house in Monteghirfo that had sat vacant after the death of its owner; cataloguing its furniture, objects, and tools in the local dialect. To document their work—and presumably to allow the museum, and its aura, to travel beyond itself—Costa and Caminati produced the present handmade photo-book, where the rooms of “il padre di Arturo” are photographed in all their details; each of their objects visibly labelled. With a number of these images being recycled by Costa in his assemblages of the following years.
This work further documents the local magical ritual of Sperlengoevia, in vivid colour photographs that would reappear in Costa’s 1975 sculpture Il tempo magico nel rito (above), and concludes with 69 photos of the Controprocesso performance, the first of the series of “trascrizioni animate” that would later occupy Caminati’s practice.
A compelling artist publication from the anthropological turn in contemporary art; not mentioned in the 2000 Skira retrospective publication of Costa’s works. Further contextualized by two scarce documents issued from the Museo: providing its overall programme of research, maps, additional photographs, and a description of the Controprocesso performance. With only 2 OCLC records discovered for this additional document (one at MART).
Filliou, Robert Research in dynamics and comparative statics. Bruxelles / Hamburg: Ed. Lebeer Hossmann, 1972-1973. € 6000 A wooden suitcase (50 x 31 x 12.5 cm.), unvarnished, with single brass hinge screwed into right-hand side. With two metal clasps at front edge (still functional) and a wire handle, supplemented by cautionary manuscript note that warns of the handle's fragility; "mieux faut porte le honorable valise sous le bras." With the work's title inscribed by Filliou to a green index card that's tied to the handle with rough twine. To the top of the lid, a manuscript label reads "16704 cm3 de Pre-Territoire de la République Géniale;" green chalk measurements to the lid outline a space of 48 x 29 cm. Some thumb-prints towards edge. To bottom of suitcase: signed and dated by Filliou in pencil. Contents inside suitcase comprise: (1) 28 folders of various colours, each featuring large manuscript labels to front covers, with approximately 248 pages of manuscript and typescript facsimiles; (2) a table of contents, in facsimile manuscript (5 pp.), with this copy appearing to miss the penultimate page; (3) an audio cassette, in original case, with manuscript labels to both sides A and B ("Singing Sade" and "The Wisdom of R. Filliou"); (4) a further manuscript label, affixed to inner lid: "1958-1965 Mss brought out today (comparative statics) to create tomorrow the Ding Dong Territory of the Genial Republic (dynamics);" and (5) a typescript manifesto (in French), on a sheet of pink graph paper (30 x 21 cm.), with manuscript corrections and an additional manuscript note at bottom, where this copy is hand-numbered as 16 of 30 copies. This sheet having originally been scotch-taped to the inside lid and now preserved loose (the adhesive having dried), with 3 arrows drawn in red chalk to the interior lid identifying its original location. Contents collate as complete, as per entry 52 in the catalogue raisonné of Filliou's editions and multiples (Jouval, 2003), with an additional folder ("Carnet de plonge / The heart's desire"), containing 2 pp. of typescript facsimiles; one of those a Christmas gift for Emmett Williams (1963).
"The world, in Filliou's view, is dying because of the age-long insistence upon the development of human talents instead of that of human genius. He wants to create a République Géniale [i.e. a Republic of Genius] dedicated to the development of human genius rather than talent. Private and theoretical experiments (model-building, problem solving) will be carried out in this Republic (and fun and play too). Filliou would like to associate every-one to this research. He says: 'Research is not the privileged domain of those who know. On the contrary, it is the domain of those who do not know. Turning your mind, paying attention to anything you fail to understand is research. Sewers, for instance, or happiness, love, clouds, insects, timidity, hunger, fashion, presence and absence, the sense of smell and the sense of sense, or something else...'"
— From the information sheet issued at Filliou's residency at the Stedelijk Museum, where the concept of the République Génial first fully developed (1971).
Rumoured to have altered his passport to read "Nationalité: poète. Profession: française," and himself something of an art-nomad in the early 1970s, criss-crossing the Atlantic on multiple occasions, the suitcase would appear to have been an ideal binding for Filliou. Here, in collaboration with Irmeline Lebeer, he built 30 wooden suitcases, and filled them with facsimiles of his writings from 1958-1966 (of almost 250 pages); many otherwise unpublished, most of them belonging to the loose genre of "action poetry." Sales of this edition (as "pre-territories") were intended to raise funds for the research/creation of the République Géniale—the Republic of Genius—a fluid micro-nation that located its anticipatory Capital in the movements of Filliou's VW wagon (qua wandering festival), which was christened here as the Ding Dong Territory of the G. R.; resonant as a bell, utopian as a fool (i.e. "cloche"). A wagon to be imagined, perhaps, with its tape deck blasting the audio cassette also included in the suitcase, in which Filliou sings-out lines from the Marquis de Sade as liturgy (or lullaby) and, on the B-side, pronounces the "Wisdom of R. Filliou" through the exclusive sound of his typewriter clattering away whilst typing-out a series of proverbs.
In his book-length interview with Lebeer (Secret of permanent creation), Filliou repeatedly refers to this publishing project as a failure. "If I could, I'd give people their money back. If I could find a way I'd do that. Because what I said I was going to do I haven't done. I had the feeling I got the money under false pretences." Lebeer, as publisher, repeatedly assures him that sales were positive; Dieter Roth was one of the first buyers, stating "one day Filliou will be a great classical poet." Of the 30 copies, OCLC records only one (BnF), while a preliminary search for museum holdings reveals M HKA (Antwerp), the Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris, and MAC Lyon. This copy descends from Filliou's son. "L'art c'est ce qui rend la vie plus intéressante que l'art."
Festival de Fort Boyard. [Proof of concept / concept of proof]. Paris, Torino, Essex, 1967–1972. € 4500 This group consists of four items: (1) Festival de Fort Boyard 1967, a retrospective catalogue-qua-artist book, published in Turin by Edizione il Punto (1970). Stiff white wrappers (17 cm.), showing some foxing, printed with blue titles and coat-of-arms to front panel. Contents: 15 leaves, printed on glossy paper, including a 3 pp. essay from Chopin (in French) and colour reproductions of 7 festival posters, along with other imagery. This being no. 974 of 1000 copies from the trade edition. Accompanied by: (2-3) two original serigraph festival posters (68 x 53 cm.). The first, printed in vibrant red, announces a performance by Brion Gysin scheduled for June 3, 1967. Signed in-image by Bertini. The other poster, printed in dark teal on heavy pink paper, announces an abstract film performance by Kurt Kren for June 28, 1967, signed in-image by Serge Béguier. Both posters having been folded into self-envelopes, with address and 1967 postmarks to verso panels. As well as: (4) a collage from Henri Chopin (designated as artist proof), with title inscribed to verso (Avec 3 figures: Beguier–Bertini—HC), along with Chopin’s signature and date (1972). Consisting of a masonite disc (23 cm. diameter; 1.5 cm. thick), with one side wrapped in stamped silver foil, to which is affixed a typescript poem from Chopin, along with images printed in red and black. Provenance of this last item: London bookseller Larry Wallrich (with his typescript mailing address on accompanying fragment).
Around 1967, Henri Chopin, his wife, and Gianni Bertini (along with a speculative group of others), decided that they wanted to produce a conceptual arts festival. But only as a concept. This imaginary festival would be held throughout the summer of 1967 on the island of Fort Boyard—a Napoleonic-era military fortress located 5 miles off the west coast of France; speedboats would carry festival-goers every hour from Rochefort-sur-Mer. The festival would host some of the most vital members of international poetics: Serge Beguier, Julien Blaine, John Furnival, Brion Gysin, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Sylvester Houédard, Kurt Kren, Mimmo Rotella, and Gil Wolman. As declared in the catalogue-qua-artist book that was published in Torino in 1970 (Edizione il Punto), written from the perspective of the year 69,000,000,000,000, this festival was, unlike most festivals, absolutely perfect, and continued to be so. “En somme, le festival de Fort Boyard ne risqua pas l’échec. C’était l’oeuvre totale, l’oeuvre parfait, l’enfant inoui, la beauté partout, la pureté absolue, le grandeur trouvée, la force incarnée, la contestation dite, la valeur indiscutée, l’esprit triomphant, la démesure de la mesure, la mesure désmurée, c’étatit en quelque mots, le chef-d’oeuvre, le vrai, celui qui naît après vingt siècles de tâtonnements.”
To produce a catalogue of an imaginary festival, however—one needed some things to catalogue. And thus the incredible production cycle for this 1970 Torinese publication. Beginning in 1967, Gianni Bertini and Henri Chopin set-about to design a series of (at least) 6 vibrantly-coloured posters, announcing the programmed scheduled for each of the festival’s events. For instance: on the night of June 3rd, Brion Gysin would debut a massive installation of his celebrated dream machine; one that measured 3 metres in diameter and was capable of simultaneously accommodating 18 spectators. These posters were hung in the streets of Paris, particularly in the arrondissements that featured a high concentration of art galleries. While legend has it that these posters/invitations succeeded in drawing some art-seekers to Rochefort—having understood that invitations to artworks “are regulated by the reality-principle even more than other works” (Moeglin-Delcroix)—the posters held additional use-value: by providing the visual content that filled the 1970 catalogue, which was issued as both a trade edition of 1000 copies (being a debatable number) and a limited edition of 20 copies (plus a few hors commerce); the latter produced at almost a 1:1 scale of the posters.
On offer in this group, in addition to a copy of the trade catalogue (which concluded with a seventh poster from Chopin, dated 1969), are copies of two of the original posters—one advertising the performance of Gysin mentioned above, the other announcing an abstract film performance by Kurt Kren; these copies having survived on account of being mailed as self-envelopes to the Parisian art critic Pierre Descargues. Also included: the artist’s proof for a collage / dactylpoème by Henri Chopin, dated 1972, in which the Fort Boyard imagery is once again revisited (e.g. Bertini’s machine-red Barbarella, Chopin’s absurd black scale), with Chopin ruminating on the melancholy duration between language and its heroic speakers; “quand je dois dire que tout cela n‘existe pas taa des personnes bavards——c’est tout.”
Neither of these posters have been recorded in institutional repositories; of the original posters, the BnF has only preserved one: announcing Rotella’s July 12 performance.
QWERTZUIOPÜ. Ideenkatalog, 5º folge. Ideografische texte / identitätsspiele / interdisziplinäre demonstrationen / integrale kunst / instant art. Hannover: Totalkunstbetrieb Timm Ulrichs, 1968. € 750 Black covers (30 cm.), both illustrated after German typewriter keyboard; side-stapled. Contents: 61 leaves of multiple formats (some folded-over), including mimeographed A4 sheets, printed cards, posters and other exhibition materials, newspaper clipping, illustrated glossy plates, stamps, inserted ephemera, etc.. Includes hand-painted copy of the Farbkasten plate, signed. This copy also signed by Ulrichs to title page.
At FLAT, we're pleased to be exhibiting a number of textual art works and artist books from Timm Ulrichs, the recipient of the 2020 Käthe Kollwitz Prize for visual art, in honour of his voluminous oeuvre. In addition to some of his earliest student works of visual and concrete poetry, we're exhibiting his iconic QWERTZUIOPÜ, the fifth (and apparently final) of his “folge" series, chronicling his then-diversifying practice of “totalkunst,” with specimens of visual and concrete poetry, but also documentation of conceptual actions and stunts, multiples, and performances; dated variably from 1961-1968. This work functions as a kind of pivot in Ulrichs’ oeuvre—with the striking keyboard motif to the covers almost funereal—as his practice would become less directly textual in the 1970s; named Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Münster in 1972.
Beached / Broken off. Hannover and Düsseldorf: Videogalerie Gerry Schum, 1970-1971. [Later printing: Köln, 1990]. € 600 Fuji VHS cassette (PAL), with custom titles printed to label (in German): "Lawrence Weiner / 'Beached' 1970, s/w, Ton, / 2,5 min. / 'Broken off' 1970, s/w, Ton, / 1,5 min. / Videogalerie Gerry Schum." Further hand-stamped: "Copyright Ursula Wevers." Cassette housed in vintage white case, with printed title sheet under transparent sleeve; dated February 1990, with Köln address of Wevers. Accompanied by USB 2.0 key (2019), housing digital transfer (.mov) of the cassette’s contents (04:10, with sound).
In 1970, Lawrence Weiner first experimented with motion pictures with To the sea / on the sea / from the sea / at the sea / bordering the sea; a 50 second contribution to Gerry Schum’s Identifications programme, which was broadcast over Sudwestfunk television. Over the next year—as Schum abandoned his idea of avant-garde television, and instead developed his Videogalerie production/distribution model in Düsseldorf—Weiner would create two more black-and-white video works with Schum: Beached and Broken off. Each of the videos explored the material possibilities of the medium, in sets of five variant actions (i.e. of relocating drift-wood onto the beach and breaking material objects with his hands), whilst holding to Weiner’s ethos of creating “public freehold example[s] of what could be art within my responsibility.” In the fifth and final possibility explored in Broken off, Weiner pulls the plug on the camera itself.
In exploring the possibilities offered by the video format to the distribution of art, Schum would borrow the concept of the “limited edition” for his video-tapes, offering some with limitation certificates. Part of the bargain also held that, as video technology and formats advanced, buyers could request “updates.” Hence the likely origin of this copy, printed in 1990 by Ursula Wevers, who assumed responsibility for the Videogalerie after Schum’s death in 1973.