Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Jonas Mekas | Reminiscensijos (Reminiscences)

Jonas Mekas
Reminiscensijos (Reminiscences)
New York City, USA: Self-published, 1972
[unpaginated], 14 x 19.5 x 3 cm., hardcover
Edition of 250 copies. 

An exceedingly rare Artists' Book by two of the most important Lithuanians in the 1960's and 70's art world. Jonas Mekas and George Maciunas were close friends, with the former living in one of the Wooster Street lofts that Maciunas had converted into artist's cooperatives (thus inventing SoHo in the process). Mekas also ran his cinemathèque and film archive out of the same Fluxhouse Coop. 

In 1972, he made a film about his first return visit to Lithuania, Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania.   While the text is in Lithuanian, based on the similar title and same year, it's safe to assume the bookwork (which features images of travel: train stations, luggage, etc.) is a companion piece. 

Some listings have this published by Fluxus, though it's not included in Jon Hendricks very comprehensive catalogue raisonné, Fluxus Codex. Accordingly, I'm going to view it as self-published by Mekas and designed by Maciunas.  

The design is quintessential Fluxus, from the typesetting to the unusual binding. The pages* are sandwiched between two planks of quarter-inch wood and held together with bolt, with a brass hinge. The cover features no title or author name, just the edition number, stencilled. 

The title is scarce and signed copies are typically offered for between $2000 and $2500 US. 

*The book is unpaginated, and the number of pages may vary from copy to copy, as Printed Matter list 48, the Getty 52, and Harvard 26. A copy offered by Sotheby's is also listed as having 52 pages. 


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