Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Valise

Johanna Calle, Matías Duville, Maria Laet, Mateo
López, Nicolás Paris, Rosângela Rennó, Christian Vinck Henriquez
The Valise
New York City, USA: Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art, 2017
36 × 62 × 11.6 cm.
Edition of 125 [+ 20 AP]

The Valise presents works by seven South American artists responding to the idea of travel and to César Aira’s 2000 novel Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero and the English translation, An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter (2006). Hailed as "thrilling" (New York Sun) and "utterly astonishing" (San Francisco Chronicle), the book concerns the story of an 1837 journey through South America by the German painter Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858), an associate of the explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

Part biography, part surrealist fiction, the story finds Rugendas horribly disfigured as a result of being struck by lightning while riding a horse, and subsequently dragged through the Pampas as the horse flees. The experience leaves the artist with an altered perspective, as he struggles to continue painting.

The Valise contains fifteen printed objects (original prints, maps, airmail envelopes, origami toys, posters) two artist’s books, a 12" vinyl record, and a hand blown glass sculpture. Each work reflects "the artists’ shared affinity for geography, travel literature, and book-making."

Produced last year in an edition of 100 signed copies for for the members of the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art, a "deluxe edition" of 25 copies was made available for purchase. The deluxe edition (pictured above) includes hand-cut paper architecture by López, a second woodcut print by Duville, a Paris design, hand-painted in metal leaf, on the carrying case. An additional 10 artist copies of each of the two editions go to the artists and other collaborators.

For information about the individual works (including biographies of each artist) visit the MoMA page, here.

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