Friday, December 8, 2023

Shaheer Zazai | FS1-222.8-NEP

Shaheer Zazai
Sackville, Canada: Nothing Else Press, 2023
152 x 19 cm. 
Edition of 50

The Nothing Else Press is pleased to announce, FS1-222.8-NEP, a new woven scarf by Shaheer Zazai. The work is an extension of his practice of creating elaborate digital compositions using the character and highlighter functions of Microsoft Word. The resulting graphic images, inspired by traditional Afghan carpet patterns, mimic textile-making methods where every knot of a carpet is translated into a typed character. This relationship between his gridded compositions and weaving processes is translated into a wearable object.

Shaheer Zazai is a multidisciplinary Afghan-Canadian artist based in Cyprus. He is known for digital works that use thousands of individual, manual keystrokes in Microsoft Word to mimic traditional Afghan carpet-making techniques. More recently, he has expanded his practice to include textiles, translating his digital works into jacquard weavings. His practice focuses on exploring and attempting to investigate the development of cultural identity in the present geopolitical climate and diaspora.

Zazai graduated from OCADU in 2011 and was a finalist for EQ Bank’s Emerging Digital Artist Award in 2018. He has exhibited widely across Canada and abroad including recent exhibitions at The Power Plant Contemporary (Toronto); The Textile Museum (Toronto); The Aga Khan Museum (Toronto); Patel Brown (Montreal); Owens Art Gallery (Sackville); Libby Leshgold Gallery & Emily Carr University (Vancouver); FSU Museum of Fine Art (Tallahassee); CAFKA Biennial 2019 (Kitchener), Glenhyrst Art Gallery (Brantford), and the Art Gallery of Mississauga.

The work is available from the Nothing Else Press website, alongside projects by David Shrigley, Kelly Mark, Micah Lexier, Jonathan Monk, Vanessa Maltese, Jon Sasaki, Aleksandra Mir, Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber, etc. etc., here:

"In a very broad way, my work is an exploration into the development of cultural identity in the present geopolitical climate and diaspora. 


I often describe my process as the surrealist drawing technique of Exquisite Corpse drawing mixed with Tetris. I am Tetris-ing shapes together while troubleshooting my limits as I work through the page. I don’t know what the outcomes will be, and this is what drives me to continue testing and experimenting.”
- Shaheer Zazai

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Michael Nyman | Bentham & Hooker

Michael Nyman
Bentham & Hooker
Cullompton, Devon : Beau Geste Press, 1973
[106] pp,  15 cm., softcover
Edition of 100

Michael Nyman is best known for the multi-platinum selling soundtrack to Jane Campion's award winning 1993 film The Piano. Before that he was the celebrated composer of scores for over a decade of Peter Greenaway feature films: The Draughtsman's Contract (1982),  A Zed & Two Noughts (1985), Drowning by Numbers (1988), The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) and Prospero's Books (1991)1

Prior to this he was known as a music critic. His 1968 article in The Spectator magazine about Cornelius Cardew is the first published work to use the term "minimalism" in relation to music. His 1974 book Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond explored the influence of John Cage on contemporary music and visual art (an entire chapter is dedicated to Fluxus, for example). 

In 1976 he released his first recording, Decay Music, on Brian Eno's short-lived by highly influential Obscure Records2. Considered a compositional breakthrough for Nyman, Decay Music was a kind of conceptual exercise borrowed from Morton Feldmann. One hundred piano chords are played - from the top of the piano to the bottom - and the performer can only play the next chord when the first has stopped ringing out. 

Bentham & Hooker arrived three years prior, and this biographical preamble is precisely because I can find absolutely no information about the title. 

The auction site offering it for sale (along with two other Beau Geste Press titles) lists only the following sentence: Mimeographed poetic experiment by the composer and music critic. 

Bentham & Hooker is a taxonomic system for seed plants, dating back to the mid-19th century. The British botanists George Bentham (1800–1884) and Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817–1911) developed the system based on the principle of natural affinities. As it predates Darwinism,  it does not take evolution into account. 

It's easy to see how Nyman's interest in process and minimalism could collide in a work inspired by the Bentham & Hooker system. 

I once mentioned an Aphex Twin work that I couldn't confirm the existence of and Robin Rimbaud (who produces work under the name of Scanner) reached out with both information and images. If anyone can provide the same for this Nyman title produced in such a small edition size - fifty years ago! - I'd be grateful. 

1. Nyman was unavailable to score Greenaway's The Belly of an Architect in 1987, so Wim Mertens (whose 1983 book on Minimalism featured a forward by Nyman) took over, with a soundtrack of very Nyman-esque music. 

2. The series of ten Obscure Records also featured classics like Gavin Bryars' The Sinking of the Titanic (b/w with another classic: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet), Eno's best ambient work Discreet Music, the debut LP from the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, as well as discs by Harold Budd, John Cage, David Toop and others. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Helen Chadwick | Et in Arcadia

Helen Chadwick
Et in Arcadia
London, UK: Croindene Press, 1995
21.5 x 21.5 cm.
Edition of 15 signed and titled copies

Etched white marble housed in a cloth and leather bound titled box. 

"Et in Arcadia, made the year before she died, possibly as a consequence of myocarditis, is as beautiful as it is disquieting. A photo etching of a black fly printed on a panel of shimmering white marble, it is abruptly counterintuitive. The insect, filthy and pestilential, is so exquisitely depicted in every whisker and proboscis as to resemble a Rembrandt etching. The ancient marble, grand and pure, is fused with the lowest of memento mori. It is a dazzling epigram to end this rare opportunity of a show."
- Laura Cumming, The Guardian

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

George Brecht

Boxed works by George Brecht, who died on this day in 2008, at the age of 82. 

Monday, December 4, 2023

Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber | Wound Salt

Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber
Wound Salt
Sackville, Canada: Nothing Else Press, 2023
4.5 x 9.5 cm.
Edition of 50 signed + numbered copies

Very pleased to announce a new edition by Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber, an engraved glass salt shaker. It’s available here, for $65.00 CDN. 

Is putting salt on a wound good or bad? The idiom suggests the “rubbing in” of unpleasant circumstances, but in practice can function as a home remedy for speeding up the healing of wounds and cuts. A great gift for both friends and foes.

Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber are founding members of The Royal Art Lodge, and have continued a collaborative practice since the collective disbanded in 2008. Their work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. They were shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2014. Dumontier and Farber’s work is included in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery and Winnipeg Art Gallery as well as Takashi Murakami, Tokyo, Japan; La Maison Rouge, Paris, France; Centro De Arte Caja de Burgos, Burgos, Spain. See more of their work here. 

Wound Salt is the first of four projects we’ll announce this month, leading up to a Multiples Pop-Up Shop in Toronto on the 17th. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Youqine Lefèvre | The Land of Promises

Youqine Lefèvre
The Land of Promises
Breda, The Netherlands: The Eriskay Connection, 2022
244 pp., 23 x 29 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown

Shortlisted for the Aperture Foundation First Photobook Award, The Land of Promises tells the intimate and personal stories of those living under the restrictions of China’s one-child policy. 

Anxious that rapid population growth would strain the country's welfare systems and economy, the Chinese government initiated a policy restricting families to a single child. A near-universal one-child limit was imposed in 1980 and two years later was written into the country's constitution. The policy remained in place and enforced until 2015. 

The program had wide-ranging social, cultural, economic, and demographic repercussions, particularly for Chinese girls. A widespread cultural preference for sons led to the abandonment of unwanted infant girls, many of whom did not survive. 

Chen Guangcheng, a lawyer who interviewed hundreds of women about their experiences, told NPR in 2021 that "doctors would inject poison directly into the baby's skull to kill it. Other doctors would artificially induce labor. But some babies were alive when they were born and began crying. The doctors strangled or drowned those babies."

Countless others were separated from their families and registered for adoption. 

In The Land of Promises, photographer Youqine Lefèvre sets out to portray the journey of her own adoption through the story of six Belgian families who traveled to China in 1994 to adopt girls. In doing so, she relates it to a broader context of international and transracial adoptions and other stories told by those she has met in the course of her travels. The changes in their lives resonate to this day and will continue in the future.