Mills, Joseph - The Loves of Poets (New in plastic!)
This jewel-like book brings the troubling visions of Joseph Mills into a trade edition with elegance and unsettling efficiency. Mills creates photocollages from found ephemera, mounts them on objects or pastes them into existing books, and heavily coats them with furniture varnish. The collages are then photographed, which constitutes the base material for subsequent limited editions of the work, as well as this trade edition.
The yellowed images of two-headed lovers, violently disfigured bodies, alien-eyed babies, and revenant Sacco and Vanzetti possessing the bodies of a dog and a priest are like dispatches from an old, nightmarish wire service. The collages are anything but seamless, but their recurrent imagery and interplay among horror and sick humor hearken to the masterful surrealist "novels" of Max Ernst in his collage phase.
Their brute impact is even more disquieting in such a refined and gorgeous package; an emerald velveteen casewrap with beveled edges and bound with a faux crocodile-skin spine reveal little of the mutant images within. The pages are gilt-edged and in a subtle but brilliant stroke, the ghosting effect, which references the original book object, gives the impression that one is seeing through thin stock to the previous page. This only adds another level of disorientation to an already intense and lovely dip into the dark side.
Publisher: Nazraeli Pr; 1st edition (2005)
Hardcover: 32 pages
Dimensions: 21.8 x 1.5 x 29.2 cm
New in plastic
With the photomontages, Mills uses techniques to convince us that the surreal is real. Ordinary daily rituals are suddenly transfigured by our worst fears. Reality is out of control. Fears that we usually suppress may not be baseless. . . . the [images] exist on the edge of horror and beauty. — Anne Wilkes Tucker. Joseph Mills’ first monograph, Inner City, was published by Nazraeli Press in 2003 to wide critical acclaim. The Loves of the Poets, featuring the artist’s beautifully raw, disturbingly seductive collages, is a work of art unto itself. Bound in rich felt, with gold leaf stamping and gilded edges, this gorgeous artist’s book features twenty-six collages that seem to be on the verge of complete revelation but time and again leave the viewer on a suspended note. The success of these images, in the words of Tucker, “lies in the fact that they are anchored in reality just enough so that we are on the edge between surreality and reality.” Beautifully reproduced with antique paper backgrounds and a rich double varnish, The Loves of the Poets brings the marriage of artist and book to a new level.