TBW Books’ Annual Series No. 6 comprises books by four artists who each crafted a monograph charged with an essence of the surreal, exploring the passage of time and the imprecise nature of the phenomenal. Together, these narratives weave a continuum from book to book, creating a dreamlike photographic timeline spanning 40 years.
BOOK 1: Guido Guidi, Dietro Casa
A prosaic rock pile marks our entry into Guido Guidi’s playfully strange visual journal, a nod to the days past of early 1980s Italy. Acting as both metronome setting the narrative pace and homage to the great Walker Evans, the rock pile ebbs into new shapes and sizes as cats cross paths, friends survey the curious space that is Dietro Casa (“behind the house”), apparitions double-expose across our field of vision, and a young girl wakes from the book’s gentle dreamscape. Guidi’s command of the medium lends itself to performance and cinema, establishing the tone for the three books that follow as they build on the ethereal stage he so masterfully sets.
BOOK 2: Jason Fulford, Clayton’s Ascent
Employing a playful and thought-provoking use of sequencing and layout that is unmistakably Jason Fulford’s, Clayton’s Ascent is a fitting complement to Dietro Casa. Shot between 1997 and 2003 while traveling the US by motorcycle, Fulford’s saturated colors are infused with a veiled foreboding, drawing a blurred line between the real and artificial. Deriving its title from the historic, 1835 nine-hour hot air balloon excursion, Fulford fills the shoes of observer and protagonist, as our sights shift from scenes of a simultaneously fantastic and tumultuous American landscape, to the top tiers of indoor arenas, and finally arcing towards the heavens as we gaze down from above the clouds bidding a receding Earth farewell.
BOOK 3: Gregory Halpern, Confederate Moons
During a summer marked by a total eclipse of the sun, known colloquially as “The Great American Eclipse” Halpern chose North and South Carolina as the stage in which to capture this rare and fleeting event, one which had not been visible across the entire contiguous United States since June 8th, 1918.
Halpern was particularly drawn to the ways in which the drama of that celestial coincidence intersected with the moments of life that directly preceded and followed it that year. Although the idea for the book was initially inspired by this celestial phenomenon, the work ultimately became more of a meditation of the current state of the nation and on that which separates and conversely bring us together. “I was fascinated,” Halpern says, “by the idea that the entire nation was staring at the sun, reveling in the apocalyptic thrill of watching the moon temporarily extinguish our life-source, all together.”
BOOK 4: Viviane Sassen, Heliotrope
Heliotrope is a collection of images in which Sassen investigates new ways of making and altering photographs that she shot on recent travels to Ethiopia, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal and South Africa. “I aim at subverting the way I look at these images, and at the world. Color, graphic shapes and shadows are my tools to revisit, reinterpret and gather a different understanding of what seems familiar. The ordinary and the magical merge. The series is underpinned by the impulse to explore unknown territories, physical or metaphorical.”
A clear departure from Sassen’s previous book works, Heliotrope alludes to a photographic future with endless technical possibilities for a medium still in its infancy.