ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

WHAT'S NEW?
EVENTS
BOOKS IN THE MEDIA
AT FIRST SIGHT
FEATURED IMAGES
EX LIBRIS
ARTBOOK INTERVIEWS
EXCERPTS & ESSAYS
FROM THE SHELVES

RECENT POSTS

DATE 4/26/2015

Visit ARTBOOK at Paris Photo Los Angeles

DATE 4/26/2015

Off the Richter Scale! 'Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires & Riots: California and Graphic Design, 1936-1986' Launches at AIGA SF

DATE 4/26/2015

Caspar Wolf and the Aesthetic Conquest of Nature

DATE 4/26/2015

Peter Doig

DATE 4/24/2015

Black Dolls

DATE 4/24/2015

Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera

DATE 4/22/2015

303 Gallery Launches Jens Hoffmann: (Curating) From A to Z

DATE 4/21/2015

Jan Schoonhoven

DATE 4/21/2015

Hokusai

DATE 4/18/2015

Edward Weston: The Flame of Recognition

DATE 4/17/2015

Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty

DATE 4/16/2015

Luke Stephenson: An Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds

DATE 4/15/2015

Lina Bo Bardi: 100

DATE 4/14/2015

Celebrating Abraham Lincoln

DATE 4/14/2015

Lance Wyman: México

DATE 4/13/2015

Drawing People: The Human Figure in Contemporary Art

DATE 4/12/2015

Drawing People: The Human Figure in Contemporary Art

DATE 4/11/2015

Walker Art Center’s ‘International Pop’ Reviewed in the New York Times

DATE 4/11/2015

Drawing People: The Human Figure in Contemporary Art

DATE 4/9/2015

In the News: Alice Neel Drawings and Watercolors 1927-1978

DATE 4/9/2015

Drawing People: The Human Figure in Contemporary Art

DATE 4/7/2015

Dennis Feldman: Hollywood Boulevard

DATE 4/5/2015

Richard Kraft: Here Comes Kitty

DATE 4/4/2015

Robert Overby: Works 1969–1987

DATE 4/3/2015

Greg Reynolds: Jesus Days

DATE 4/3/2015

Robert Overby: Works 1969–1987

DATE 4/2/2015

Sophie Calle: Suite Vénitienne

DATE 3/30/2015

Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series

DATE 3/29/2015

Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series

DATE 3/29/2015

Bookforum Reviews Dorothy Iannone: You Who Read Me With Passion Now Must Forever Be My Friends

DATE 3/28/2015

Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series

DATE 3/27/2015

New York Times: The Latin Aesthetic, at Home on Any Horizon

DATE 3/27/2015

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: In/Out Studio Launch at 192 Books

DATE 3/26/2015

Pedro Reyes: The Permanent Revolution

DATE 3/25/2015

The Birth of Rock and Roll

DATE 3/25/2015

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Cosmic Geometry

DATE 3/24/2015

Victor Moscoso: Psychedelic Drawings 1967-1982

DATE 3/22/2015

Masao Yamamoto: Small Things in Silence

DATE 3/20/2015

James Mollison: Playground

DATE 3/20/2015

Victor Moscoso: Psychedelic Drawings Reviewed in NY Times

DATE 3/20/2015

Mujercitos!

DATE 3/20/2015

The Forever Now

DATE 3/19/2015

Robert Adams: A Road Through Shore Pine

DATE 3/18/2015

Yves Saint Laurent's Studio: Mirror and Secrets

DATE 3/17/2015

Olaf Otto Becker: Reading the Landscape

DATE 3/14/2015

Modern Times: The Age of Photography

DATE 3/13/2015

Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman

DATE 3/13/2015

Thomas Ruff: Editions 1988–2014

DATE 3/12/2015

Laurie Simmons

DATE 3/10/2015

David Wojnarowicz: Brush Fires in the Social Landscape

DATE 3/10/2015

Ken Schles: Night Walk


EXCERPTS & ESSAYS

LISA PEARSON | DATE 2/22/2015

On the Small and the Contrary


BY LISA PEARSON

In Prague, before the Velvet Revolution, one of the samizdat copies of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being in circulation was a mimeographed typewritten manuscript, no different in its physical form than a thick stack of Communist era restaurant menus listing the various permutations of pork, beef, and knedliky (concrete slabs of potato dumpling). Unbound, with nothing to signal that it was a published much less revered work of literature, Kundera’s book existed in the most utilitarian and urgent of forms. Someone had re-typed the entire work—not from the Czech original but from a smuggled English translation—and mimeographed it, risking identification by typewriter keys, by the traces on the machine itself, or by the fact of missing ink and spirits.
On the Small and the Contrary

Here was a book that did not look like a book and furthermore was cloaked in a foreign language. Its status was not a book to be placed as a treasured object on the bookshelf; rather, it was a collection of pages, printed in soft, purple type, meant to read, to be truly consumed and devoured, and then to be given away. While this particular work of beauty and nuance by an exiled writer was far more subversive than any blatantly political tract, the physical form of the book, the fact of its translation, and the necessity of its dissemination also profoundly affected both the act of reading and one’s role as reader: Kundera’s words in this “book” challenged a whole gamut of accepted truths. Holding on to it was not only a dangerous act—a punishable offense if you were caught by the authorities—but also a selfish one. By passing it on, you shared the risk as well as gave a gift: each reader became a publisher, albeit very much through the looking glass.

Siglio is not a political publishing house, but it is committed to various kinds of subversions. This samizdat copy of The Unbearable Lightness of Being serves as something of a totem for Siglio: as an act of resistance to the literal, the authoritarian and the facile, as the result of undeterred ambition to share a work of art that might otherwise remain unseen and unread, and as a testament to the “book” as refuge, dissent, beacon, and nexus. The subversion—in the works Siglio publishes and in the ways it publishes them, in the content and in the form of those books— begins by looking askew at the accepted paradigms, locating their absurdities and constraints, and then imagining other possibilities. Thus, the invisible is rendered visible, unexpected connections are revealed, categories dissolved, and a space is opened for contradiction, heterodoxy, ambiguity, as well as wonder.

This is what “Siglio” means: sig.li.o, n. 1. an inverse to a boundary. 2. a small, unauthorized marvel as opposed to an ecclesiastically recognized miracle. 3. the tongue-like organ of a bee. 4. Obs. a perverse taxonomy, e.g. a wunderkammer. 5. Archaic. The third rung on the Medieval Ladder of Awe: a. Delecta b. Canmena c. Siglio d. Mirabilius e. Elatoria f. Inefiblio g. Agis.

And this: Siglio publishes uncommon books that live at the intersection of art and literature. These are hybrid, interdisciplinary works that are often unwieldy, expansive, uncontainable, and inimitable. They challenge the reader to engage in multiple, diverse, and perhaps unfamiliar modes of reading. They upset the categories by which books are shelved and reviewed—and thus distributed and sold. They are not necessarily the books that larger publishing houses have rejected; rather, they are the books those publishing houses may never imagine. Together, they are (and will be) a rigorously eclectic and dynamic constellation of works that—rather than stake out a specific territorial subject or aesthetic stance—are connected by their way of seeing the world through the looking glass.

How one possibly get books like these into the world? We collaborate with artists and writers— in realizing their vision in the physical object of the book, in communicating (marketing) the work well, in other words, in creating a life for the work. We do not underestimate the curiosity, intelligence and daring of the reading public, or the knowledge and passion of booksellers and reviewers. We trust the immense appeal of a beautiful and unusual book. We cultivate and locate audiences for each book rather than selecting and tailoring a book for an intended audience. And we take nothing for granted: every stage of the process—from editorial to production, from marketing to distribution—is not only rigorous but highly individualized for each book. Perhaps we can only do this because Siglio is so small, or perhaps Siglio is so small because this is how we publish books.

The argument is not whether publishing ventures like Siglio should exist (how can one argue for the hegemony of dominant editorial interests and the homogeneity of the marketplace in a pluralistic, democratic society?). It’s obviously not whether we can exist—there is a long history of contrarian and visionary publishing that, given human nature and a means of dissemination, virtually no circumstance will abate. It’s not even whether our presence inflects the culture at-large: yes, of course, it does, and yes, of course, it doesn’t. (We do not have power to wield, rather our influence percolates unpredictably here and there, and thus is neither easily measured nor controlled.) Perhaps the argument is an existential one: how do we redefine the world by our engagement with it—through the books we publish and by extension through the artists and writers whose works we champion, and the conversations and relationships those books generate? The argument is simply answered one book at a time.

On the Small and the Contrary

LISA PEARSON is the founder and publisher of Siglio Press. This essay was originally published in American Book Review, “The Micropress Issue,” August 2010.
On the Small and the Contrary
On the Small and the Contrary
On the Small and the Contrary
On the Small and the Contrary
On the Small and the Contrary
On the Small and the Contrary

Richard Kraft: Here Comes Kitty

Richard Kraft: Here Comes Kitty

SIGLIO
Hbk, 8.5 x 11.5 in. / 64 pgs / 64 color.

$32.00  free shipping



ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the artworld's favorite source for books on art and culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
155 Sixth Avenue
New York NY 10013
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2013 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com