Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Recommendations Guest Post #10: Stephen Bury

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin
The Holy Bible
London, UK: Mack Books/AMC, 2013
768 pp., 16.2 cm x 21.6 cm., Embossed hardcover
Edition size unknown

Available, here, for USD $80 or GBP 50

The Bible, as we know it, was the first book in codex format. So it’s fitting that Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin appropriate the format and text of the King James version of the Holy Bible. Inspired by Brecht’s grangerized Bible, they juxtapose the text, sometimes with red underlinings, with 512 images from the Archive of Modern Conflict of war, holocaust, disaster and pornography, perhaps suggesting that war and asymmetrical power structures are pornography by other means. (I am also reminded of hotel rooms with the Gideon Bible in close proximity to the TV remote control and easy access to the porn channels.) Image and text stand in metonymic relationship. The black rectangle on the title page anticipates “darkness upon the face of the deep.” One of the last images is the destruction of the World Trade Center. It is hard to imagine anyone doing this with the Koran.

- Stephen Bury

Stephen Bury is the Andrew W. Mellon Chief Librarian at the Frick Art Reference Library. He published Artists’ Books (1995), Artists’ Multiples (2001) and Breaking the Rules (2007) and writes regularly for Art Monthly and Cassone. He chaired the Boards of Trustees at Book Works and Matt’s Gallery, London. He contributed to the art projects, Volumes of Vulnerability (2000), Cunning Chapters (2008) and The Nabokov Paper (2013).

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