ZAJ: Ephemerality as a Means of Resistance

Hidalgo, Juan. Viaje A Argel. Madrid: Zaj, 1967.

8vo; illustrated throughout with montages of photo and text printed in green monochrome; printed wrappers; spine and front cover a bit age toned. Near fine.

First edition. Inscribed on the eleventh page to an American fan Juan Hidalgo had met during  a concert and performance tour of North America in Spring, 1973: Para Bob, Maria y Sam, Desde Batalla Del Salado, 1. Con Amor, Juan. Madrid, 18-5-73.

Juan Hidalgo and Walter Marchetti (who is credited as editor of this volume) were avant-garde composers and intermedia artists who, along with writer Jose Luis Castillejo, were the leading figures in the Spanish ZAJ movement. ZAJ was closely aligned with the ideas of John Cage (who was in turn ZAJ's biggest supporter) and loosely affiliated with such parallel movements as Fluxus in the United States and Gutai in Japan. In Spain, which was under Franco's fascist rule, ZAJ's avant-garde aesthetics also developed, by necessity, a political dimension not present elsewhere. ZAJ's devotion to chance, to unscripted and unrepeatable modes of working, and to radical combinations of media which blurred the line between performance and reality, made for an art that could elude authoritarian constraint. ZAJ performances were underground events, staged "without permission" on trains, in public squares, private homes, and other improvised settings. Ephemerality became a means of resistance. This book combines graphics, photos, and text (in Spanish, Italian, English, Arabic and other languages) into a whole that is part concrete poem, part musical composition. Its blank areas are meant to represent the censorship of the fascists while also evoking Cage's concept of Silence--the conflation of these ideas is quintessentially ZAJ.
A very scarce publication, and genuinely rare inscribed.
sold inquire

Voyeur: First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth editions

FELDMANN, Hans-Peter. Voyeur. [Five volumes; one each of the five different editions published to date]. La Fl├Ęche/Cologne: OFAC Art Contemporain/Walther Konig, 1994, 1997, 2006, 2009, 2011.

12mos.; illustrated throughout in black and white; pictorial wrappers. First edition very good; all else fine.

First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth edition. A set of the five different iterations of Voyeur Feldmann has created since its initial release in 1994. The first and second edition are very scarce; the third and fourth edition are increasingly so. The books are collectively in extraordinary condition. In a Feldmann-esque spirit of appropriation, what follows is a sample of what others have written about Voyeur... to paraphrase Feldmann, thanks to all those writers whose words have been used for this description.

Editions 1 to 5
“Taking the form of an affordable mass market paperback, Voyeur is a compact representation of society as image spectacle. A sprawling taxonomy of vernacular photography, images from every possible genre are here--crime, fashion, sports, advertising, and on and on. The variety of sources, mostly twentieth century, is equally sprawling. They are presented scrapbook style in miniaturized black and white half-tone reproductions.

“Voyeur is approximately 250 pages of appropriated photos, some famous and some unknown, presented as a mass of images - a chaotic view of history and human existence. Each page, which may be illustrated with half a dozen images or more, is a tangle of context. The blurring of history creates a surreal vision of society and the world that is both familiar and strange.

“Movie stills, porn mags, photojournalism, advertising, amateur photos, art, and scientific images are recontextualized apart from their authors (no individual credit is given) and organized onto the page where hierarchy is left only to their sizing.

“Voyeur trawls the image wreckage of our consumer-driven culture, making eccentric or sinister juxtapositions (shots of nude women next to aircraft crashes) and cataloging the blandness of media bombardment to render its toxic assault visible to us, its near-helpless voyeurs.

“Although Feldmann is often linked to both Ruscha and Richter, his work is very different in that the photographs he collects and uses in his books do not form the basis for any further artistic intervention. They constitute the work itself; their meaning is largely dependent upon the viewer's interpretation.

“A cult collection of images that together form a "world of paper." Hans Peter Feldmann assembles pictures like an anthopologist. Images flash on the pages of utter silliness, violence, the erotic and banal. Feldmann shows us the complexity and predictability of the world around us. Highly recommended.”