Rimbaud in New York 1978-79. Photographs by David Wojnarowicz. Edited by Andrew Roth. Essay by Jim Lewis. PPP Editions, New York, 2004. 108 pp. Quarto. Edition limited to 1000 copies. Hardbound. No jacket as issued. Numerous tritone and four-color reproductions.
In 1978 David Wojnarowicz took a series of photographs of a man wearing a paper mask bearing the face of Arthur Rimbaud, the French poet. Wojnarowicz was 24 when he shot most of the Rimbaud in New York series, and the urban situations in which he poses the masked figure represent a specific moment in the city's history: post-Stonewall, but pre-AIDS. When a few pictures from the series were published in the Soho Weekly News in 1980, they were the first of his works to make it into print. This volume reproduces for the first time, the series in its entirety.
"Finished the year before the publication of Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida (1980), this series anticipates and rebuffs Barthes' assertion that the photograph 'is' the sitter: 'in the photograph, being coincides with self […] a true being, not resemblance' Wojnarowicz' use of a photographic portrait as a mask simultaneously doubles (intimating soulful identification with the poet) and cancels out our access to the subject, embedding a camouflaged blind spot in the picture plane. The photographs generate an impulse to peel the mask's image skin back from the subject's face in order to see: impossible because the photograph is, of course, a single surface."--Catherine Wood, from a 2006 exhibition review in FRIEZE Magazine.
Fine-; touch of wear to rear joint.