In Numbers – Serial Publications By Artists Since 1955

written by Matilde Casaglia Art Editor

artworks by:  Wallace Berman, Eleanor Antin, Maurizio Cattelan and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

Exhibition date: 25 January 2012 – 25 March 2012

Opened the 25th of January at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) in London, IN NUMBERS­ is a survey exhibition of the serial publications produced by artists worldwide from 1955 to the present days.

Professional artists have always seized on the format of magazines and postcards as a site for a new experiment of design and production.

This is the first survey which aims to define a neglected art form that is only its own unique object and nothing else. Not a book. Not news items. Nor criticism or reproduction of previous artworks.

The exhibition features publications by young artists that are looking for an alternative to the marketplace.

It is difficult to exhibit the 60 artworks through the rise of the small press in the ’60s, to the so called “zine” (from fanzine a mash-up of fan and magazine. It is a self-published collection of text and/or images, usually distributed on a small scale and aimed at a relatively specific community. Zine Culture grew out of the Punk scene in the 1970s and hit its stride in the 1990s) of the ’80s and early ’90s.

IN NUMBERS maintains and proudly shows its snatchy, fragmentary attitude.

At the entrance the visitor follows the path made up of waist-height white box cabinets containing publications. From the self-publishing photomontages Semina by Wallace Berman’s through the rise of the small press in the ‘60s. Continues through Joe Brainard’s C Comics, Eleanor Antin’s  “100 Boots”, Robert Heinecken’s modified periodicals, Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Poor.Old.Tired.Horse, Fluxus, Art-Language, Raymond Pettibon’s Tripping Corpse. Then journals such as Maurizio Cattelan and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s ‘Permanent Food’, and Aleksandra Mir’s ‘Living & Loving’, which both represent contemporary uses of the serial publication.

Towards the end images of nudity, blood and a decapitated goose from Günter Brus’s ‘Die Schastrommel/Die Drossel’ are in contrast with the bright typography of Anna Banana’s ‘VILE Magazine’, with the same aim of distrusting conventions.

On Thursday the 8 of March at 6.30pm Fraser Muggeridge, director of its own graphic design company, will offer his perspective on this International exhibition.

The selection of publications for IN NUMBERS was made by Andrew Roth and Philip Aarons and previously shown at “X” in New York. It will last until the 18th of March.

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