Signing for Michalis Pichler’s TWENTYSIX GASOLINE STATIONS

October 1, 2011

Printed Matter is pleased to announce that Michalis Pichler’s book TWENTYSIX GASOLINE STATIONS, originally published in 2009 by Printed Matter, Inc., is printed in the second edition and available for order. Pichler will sign copies of the book Saturday, October 1, 5 PM, in the lobby of MoMA PS1.

This book is Michalis Pichler’s take on Ed Ruscha, who published his groundbreaking and highly influential TWENTYSIX GASOLINE STATIONS in 1963. Pichler’s version offers a more modern update, examining German gas stations all owned by the same company and all displaying the same signage and architectural elements. At first glance, all images appear to depict the same pristine and brightly-colored generic structure, photographed frontally in a somewhat topographic style, reminding the Becher typologies.

Only upon further examination, aided by Pichler’s captions declaring the different locations, does the reader get the full extent of the joke, which is punctuated by the book’s final image: a disembodied hand holding an excerpt from a 1969 interview with Ruscha in which he explains “the eccentric stations were the first ones I threw out.” The captions to this last Text/Image seem to be a riff on Gertrude Stein.

Within Pichler ́s body of work TWENTYSIX GASOLINE STATIONS both represent a piece of serial photography, urban phenomenology, wordplay, ambiguous social critique and, last but not least, art history Karaoke.

In a critical essay in Printed Matter’s Research Room on appropriation Pichler describes the Karaoke techniques as follows: - the strategic use of found and pre-used material, be it image, object, sound, text or thought
- the use of an existing layout scheme or corporate identity (see Kippenberger, especially)
- the 1:1-use or paraphrase of a historic book title, using the same or alluding words, syntax or rhythm - the reenactment of an “old” concept with “new” material
- the reenactment of “old” material with a “new” concept
- if a book paraphrases one explicit historical or contemporary predecessor in title, style and/or content, this technique is what I would call a “greatest hit” Together with this we will also launch SIX HANDS AND A CHEESE SANDWICH, the ultimate sourcebook featuring an extensive bibliography of Ruscha (and Hokusai) appropriations, both an artist book and catalogue to the traveling group show follow-ed (after hokusai), curated by Pichler and Tom Sowden, published by Zavod P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. (Ljubljana).

TWENTYSIX GASOLINE STATIONS is perfect bound, with glassine protective sleeve, 36 pages, 18 x 14cm, 1st ed. of 550 (2009), 2nd ed. 1000 (2011). It retails for $18 and can be purchased at Printed Matter or online here. SIX HANDS AND A CHEESE SANDWICH is stapled, 20 pages, 18 x 14 cm, ed. 3000 (2011). It retails for $10.

Michalis Pichler’s work has been presented widely, including Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje, Stichting Perdu (Amsterdam), Badischer Kunstverein (Karlsruhe), Literaturwerkstatt (Berlin) and PS1 MoMA. He had a solo show with Printed Matter, Inc., I fell in love, i fell out of love, 100$, potato chips, airplanes, clouds & sky, 2006. To date he published about fourteen books with Revolver (Frankfurt), the cneai (Chatou), Printed Matter, Inc. (NY), AGRA Publications (Athens) and “greatest hits” (Berlin).