Spirit + Flesh.
Photographs by Fakir Musafar. Text by Mark Thompson.
Arena Editions, Santa Fe, 2002. In English. 184 pp., 140 duotone illustrations, 9ΒΌx12".

Out of Print

Very Good condition (binding loose, front board is cut and torn at the upper right corner; interior is crisp and clean)



Publisher's Description

Fakir Musafar is known worldwide for his fifty years of research and personal exploration into primitive body decoration and rituals. Widely known as the father of the modern primitive movement, Fakir has introduced concepts and practices for the 'body first' approach to exploring spirituality in art/body modifications. A shaman, artist, master piercer, and body modifier, Fakir has played a significant role in the revival of body-related practices for personal expression, spiritual exploration, rites of passage, healing, and reclaiming.

Since he began his work in the 1940s, Fakir has been steadfastly documenting himself and others with the camera, recording the interaction of spirit and flesh during body rituals, modifications, and decorations. The result of this half-century of visual documentation is an amazing compilation of images that underscore not only the peculiar beauty but also the sheer wonderment of body/spirit interplay. Spirit + Flesh is the first monograph devoted to Fakir's photography. It reveals a broad array of modern primitive practices, while serving as the first art book dealing with this compelling topic. Fakir's photographs-beautifully composed, well lighted, and expertly printed- reveal a modernist edge. Their power, however, resides in the uncanny and unexpected nature of Fakir's representation. Although numerous books on this subject exist, none to date have brought to light so many truly amazing, and sometimes impossible to believe, images.

Born in 1930 on what was then an Indian reservation, Fakir is a Depression baby from Aberdeen, South Dakota. He studied electrical engineering at Northern State University in South Dakota and earned a master's degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University. Over the years, he followed a checkered career path that included such odd occupations as instructor in demolitions and explosives (U.S. Army 1952-54) and Arthur Murray ballroom dance teacher.

For many years he held executive positions in San Francisco advertising agencies and operated his own ad agency in Silicon Valley. All the while, he was privately practicing a valid but non-sanctioned way (in this culture) to reach the spirit through the body. In 1979 he made his coming out at the first International Tattoo Convention in Reno, Nevada. Since then, his lifework has involved writing, speaking, and teaching others about his experiences and lessons with 'body play.'

Mark Thompson, who has spent much time interviewing Fakir and researching his fifty-year career, provides an original and insightful text to accompany the photographs. He lives in Los Angeles, and his previous publications include the highly acclaimed Leatherfolk (1991), which contains an interview with Fakir Musafar.


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