"This experimental film ('Venom and Eternity') by Isidore Isou constitutes the Letterist manifesto of film. Rejecting film conventions by 'chiseling' away at them, Isou introduced several new concepts, including discrepancy cinema where the sound track has nothing to do with the visual track. In addition, the celluloid itself was attacked with destructive techniques such as scratches and washing it in bleach. Causing a scandal at the 1951 Cannes Film Festival, this film was later introduced in the United States where it influenced avant–garde film makers such as Stan Brakhage."
Fig.1 Isidore Isou (1951). Traité de bave et d'éternité. Venom And Eternity.
"For Study for Inner Improvement (1977), a sequence of photographs in which Almeida looks like she is eating blue paint. There is no question that the colour she is consuming is very similar to that of Yves Klein. She had in the past protested at Klein's use of women as objects in his artworks. At the time of making Study for Inner Improvement, the concept of anthropophagy (cultural cannibalism, the idea of consuming other cultures as a way of asserting independence) was a popular ideology. Almeida's chewing up of Klein's blue, a colour he had come to dominate, was a liberating act for women and artists everywhere."
(Jessica Lack, 7 October 2009, guardian.co.uk)
Jonathan Safran Foer's 'Tree of Codes' (2010) "is actually a kind of interactive paper–sculpture: Foer and his collaborators at Die Keure in Belgium took the pages of another book, Bruno Schulz's The Street of Crocodiles, and literally carved a brand new story out of them using a die–cut technique.
According to Foer's publisher Visual Editions, Tree of Codes was turned down by every printer they approached: 'Their stock line [was], 'the book you want to make just cannot be made'.'…
The luscious results, designed by Sara de Bondt, will fly in the face of anyone who says that physical books are passé. Tree of Codes is tactile, interactive, immersive––and it won't ever run out of batteries."
(John Pavlus, Co.Design)
"The Commissar Vanishes is an installation of haunting images from the David King Collection, which coincides with the Russian publication of the book of the same name that traces the falsification of photographs and art in Stalin's Russia.
Like their counterparts in Hollywood, photographic retouchers in Soviet Russia spent long hours smoothing out the blemishes of imperfect complexions, helping the camera to falsify reality. But it was during the Great Purges, which raged in the late 1930's, that a new form of falsification emerged. The physical eradication of Stalin's political opponents at the hands of the secret police was swiftly followed by their obliteration from all forms of pictorial existence. Photographs for publication were retouched and restructured with airbrush and scalpel to make once–famous personalities vanish. Entire editions of works by denounced politicians and writers were banished to the closed sections of the state libraries and archives or simply destroyed. Soviet citizens, fearful of the consequences of being caught in possession of material considered 'anti–Soviet' or 'counterrevolutionary', were forced to deface their own copies of books and photographs.
The subject matter of this exhibit focuses on one particularly evocative example: in 1934 the artist/designer/photographer Alexander Rodchenko was commissioned by the state publishing house OGIZ in Moscow to design the album, Ten Years of Uzbekistan, celebrating a decade of Soviet rule in that state. The Russian edition, full of Rodchenko's skillful design techniques, appeared the same year and the Uzbek edition, with some politically induced changes, in 1935. But in 1937, at the height of the terror, Stalin ordered a major overhaul of the Uzbek leadership and heads began to roll. Many Party bosses photographed in Ten Years of Uzbekistan were liquidated. The album suddenly became illegal literature. Using thick black India ink, Rodchenko was compelled to deface his own book. This installation now brings together, in the form of photographic enlargements, the published portraits of the high–ranking officials victimised in Stalin's Uzbek purge, juxtaposed with their eradication by Rodchenko's hand. The macabre results – ethereal, Rothko–like, sometimes brutal and terrifying – came close to creating a new art form, a graphic reflection of the real fate of the victims."
(The Photographers' Gallery)
David King (1997). "The Commissar Vanishes".