ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 6/29/2017

We're loving Joe Bradley's 'large, scruffy-looking' paintings

DATE 6/28/2017

At last: the first major American survey of Joe Bradley

DATE 6/27/2017

'Not just anyone can go mad.' Carol Rama: Antibodies

DATE 6/26/2017

NEW! 'Carol Rama: Antibodies' from New Museum

DATE 6/25/2017

LGBT Pride Parade, now and then

DATE 6/24/2017

CELEBRATE LGBT PRIDE!

DATE 6/23/2017

LGBT San Francisco talk and signing at BGSQD

DATE 6/23/2017

Joe Bradley Book Launch at Spoonbill & Sugartown, Bushwick

DATE 6/22/2017

Divine and more in 'LGBT: San Francisco'

DATE 6/21/2017

Documenting Gay Pride: Daniel Nicoletta's 'LGBT: San Francisco'

DATE 6/20/2017

Playfulness and Pride in 'LGBT: San Francisco'

DATE 6/19/2017

Celebrate Harvey MIlk and 'LGBT: San Francisco'

DATE 6/18/2017

Gifts for Dads!

DATE 6/18/2017

Make Fathers Day Sophisticated and Sporty

DATE 6/17/2017

Fathers Day Favorite: The Moon 1968–1972

DATE 6/16/2017

Fathers Day Favorite 'Alexander Girard: A Designer's Universe' Opens at Cranbrook

DATE 6/15/2017

Fathers Day Favorite 'Jim Marshall: Jazz Festival' at Leica Gallery LA

DATE 6/14/2017

! ! Summer Books ! !

DATE 6/14/2017

Inquiry and revelation: Philip Guston & the Poets

DATE 6/13/2017

How we love 'Philip Guston & the Poets'

DATE 6/12/2017

Extending the possibility of ornament: Frank Lloyd Wright's design universe

DATE 6/11/2017

The audacity of Frank Lloyd Wright's unbuilt mile-high skyscraper

DATE 6/10/2017

From the prairie to the planets: the visionary architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright

DATE 6/9/2017

Place as Spectacle in 'Frank Lloyd Wright: Unpacking the Archive'

DATE 6/8/2017

Daniel Nicoletta to sign 'LGBT: San Francisco' after Metrograph screening of 'The Times of Harvey Milk'

DATE 6/8/2017

Gay Pride!

DATE 6/8/2017

Celebrating Frank LLoyd Wright at 150

DATE 6/7/2017

A new monograph on Lygia Pape, leader of Brazil's 1960s avant-garde

DATE 6/6/2017

The only thing that you’ve got is people along the way who are going to help you, that’s it.

DATE 6/5/2017

New! Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day

DATE 6/3/2017

Willemijn Stokvis' definitive, 416-page Cobra study

DATE 6/2/2017

More than road photography: Autophoto

DATE 6/1/2017

It's the time of the season for loving... Summer of Love Booklist

DATE 6/1/2017

Autophoto: an exquisite survey of cars and photography, 1900-now

DATE 5/31/2017

A book that is all too relevant today, perfectly made and releasing next week.

DATE 5/29/2017

Women in Trees

DATE 5/28/2017

One and One Is Four: The Bauhaus Photocollages of Josef Albers

DATE 5/27/2017

One and One Is Four: The Bauhaus Photocollages of Josef Albers

DATE 5/26/2017

MoMA's remarkable facsimile edition of Robert Rauschenberg's 'Thirty-Four Drawings for Dante’s Inferno'

DATE 5/25/2017

The drop-deadpan landscape photographs of Gohlke and Sternfeld

DATE 5/25/2017

Join ARTBOOK | D.A.P. at Book Expo 2017!

DATE 5/24/2017

Quietly inspiring photographs of Queens, New York, by two American masters

DATE 5/23/2017

Can a robot be neurotic, helpless or needy? Hello, Robot!

DATE 5/23/2017

Read Georges Bataille with Glenn A. Elmer Griffin at ARTBOOK @ Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

DATE 5/22/2017

How do you feel about objects having feelings? Hello, Robot!

DATE 5/21/2017

Celebrate one of the most fearlessly experimental artists of all time

DATE 5/20/2017

Swiss Institute Launches 'The Exhibitionist'

DATE 5/20/2017

No guarantee of enlightenment, humor, beauty or art: Robert Rauschenberg

DATE 5/19/2017

Jeremy Sigler 'My Vibe' Book Launch at Spoonbill & Sugartown

DATE 5/19/2017

Almost impossibly rich and rewarding: Robert Rauschenberg opens at MoMA

DATE 5/18/2017

Where did hippie design come from? Look to the East!


EXCERPTS & ESSAYS

ALLIE PISARRO-GRANT | DATE 3/23/2011

Koen Wessing: Chili, September 1973

Who was that woman lying there? What building is that, now crumbling? Whose side were they on? These are images to be poured over. These are images to be asked questions to, decades later.

Excerpted below are a selection of images from Koen Wessing: Chili, September 1973, Eratta Editions’ Books on Books No. 8. First published in 1973, just months after the fall of Salvador Allende to Augusto Pinochet's coup d'etat, it describes the tense days of the military attempt to root out public opposition in the streets of Santiago, and has since become one of documentary photography's most exemplary moments. This entry in Errata Editions' Books on Books series reproduces every spread from Wessing's gritty documentation of Chile's darkest historical moment. Below are a number of the original spreads, alongside excerpts from contemporary Dutch journalist Pauline Terreehorst’s text, The Man in the Grey Suit, also from the book.


Chili, September 1973 Excerpts

Although the American magazine Life had shown that it was possible to change the balance and give priority to photography, usually photographs still accompanied texts, certainly in newspapers and magazines. Texts were mandatory. Even in photography books, it was still customary to publish texts next to the photographs, often written by famous writers. It was thought to enhance the impression, and reputation, of the photographic work. Walker Evans was and still is a great example. But Wessing had experienced that those texts often got more attention than the photographic work itself. Therefore he knew exactly what he did not want, when traveling back with a bag full of films: he wanted to tell his own story. He wanted to use the images as if he was a cinematographer. What he made in Chile was a film, inspired by the Nouvelle Vague of Godard and others in the fifties and sixties, and the work of William Klein. It is a paradox that this reprint of Chili 1973 will be accompanied by a text again, because it lacks the urgency, the historical setting and the context of a knowing audience.



Chili, September 1973 Excerpts

Immediately after he returned to the Netherlands, the photographs were printed. He glued them together in a dummy of the future book and phoned Lubberhuizen, the director-editor of the Bezige Bij. Lubberhuizen had already noticed the impact of Wessings’ photographs in the magazines and acted immediately. He published the book exactly in the unobtrusive way Wessing had asked for, and for a very low price. In Wessing’s mind it was the only way to get the message spread as soon as possible.

Chili, September 1973 Excerpts

What is the story Wessing wanted to get across the thick layer of indifference of an already image-savvy audience?

Firstly he wanted them to look. The second reason for not adding texts to rescue the indifferent reader was to force them to combine the photographs himself, to grasp the meaning of the images he was confronted with.

Wessing wanted a photo essay, with only images – as if he was a mime-player again, which he used to be for a short period of time at the beginning of his career. The expression of the images had to speak without words. It is in many ways symbolic then that the book starts with a close up of a scarred magazine, almost disappearing in the flames on top of a heap of already burnt books. Incidentally they happened to be the books of a friend, whose apartment was searched by passing soldiers, but this fact he learned only after having returned in the Netherlands. On the cover of the magazine we see a drawing of Allende, by then already assassinated by the military regime. On the next page we see the whole picture: laughing soldiers who throw papers and books on the pile. Burning books is a horrible sign of repression. Regimes who hunt for ideas, for intellectuals, belong to the most severe, the most uncompromising, because they show not to be interested in reasonable thoughts. They want to act without thinking. It always leads to bloodshed. This is what these first images tell us. In the next two pages we see people mourning. They bury loved ones, slain in the first uprising. But in a way they also bury Salvador Allende, although nobody will admit this because it is already forbidden to speak about him. In the next images we see a corpse in a coffin, and again people crying. But the crying is soon replaced by anger. In the double spread that follows we see an image of a left wing demonstration, as can be seen at the many folded fists.

Chili, September 1973 Excerpts

But neither cries nor anger can prevent that people are detained, as is obvious in the following pictures. They must have been put on a list, because the whole action takes place with unbelievable efficiency and order. One prisoner after the other passes the grilled fence of the soccer stadium of Santiago. Mostly men. Wives, children and other relatives are left behind, crying, full of anxiety about things to come. It is through this fence that Wessing is able to get in as a photographer. His grey suit must have made him acceptable for the soldiers. He moves around quietly, observing, taking pictures of all the elements of ongoing tragedy. He notices the arrival of the prisoners, heads low, folded hands over their neck, anonymous. Then he shows the gate, where people are waiting. In the next picture we clearly see a detained intellectual. His black hair touches his shoulders. He wears thick black glasses, like Allende did. His jacket is already dirty and he wears no tie. He looks worried, carrying a plaid, as if he is going to a strange picknick. This is one of the most striking images Wessing has taken. He must have known that here he touches the hearts and minds of the people who would leaf through the book, back in Europe: ‘this could have been me’, they must think. Identification is the starting point for action.

Chili, September 1973 Excerpts

In the next image we see prisoners being photographed holding a sign with a number – their administrative number as a prisoner. The next step is the lining up of the prisoners, taking them to improvised cellblocks. They walk through a door. From a distance, Wessing sees how the long hair of the men is being cut by professional barbers. Now the anonymisation is almost completed. The nobodies disappear in the stadium, behind another fence. When Wessing throws some cigarettes, they have to fight for it with a soldier, who is interested too. In the meantime, on the next page, a man is brought in who has the appearance of a union man: no glasses, sturdy, hand-knitted sweater. These were the prisoners of the Junta: the left wing union officials, and the left wing intellectuals. All had been said. Time to go – Wessing manages to get out of the stadium. The following days he wanders through the deserted streets of Santiago and sees peculiar scenes. People are being searched, but it is not clear what the soldiers are looking for. It seems like they want to create a sphere of anxiety with their actions. Women have to open their bags. Are they afraid of small guns, while they themselves are carrying automatic weapons the size of a suitcase? These are pointed at windows, where book-loving people may live. Strings of bullets are worn like jewelry. An old woman with shiny black shoes tries to pass unnoticed. Her handbag is no target. In the deserted streets sometimes only prisoners are seen, forced to clean fences that were carrying slogans in favor of Allende. Again words are to blame. The soldiers guarding the scene look at Wessing, in the lens of his camera. One of them is wearing sunglasses: the armed force is anonymous too. Wessing shows us the pile of books again, now turned into ashes. The words are gone. It is the last page of the book, meaningful. Ideas are more alive than ever.

Chili, September 1973 Excerpts

Wessing managed to get his message come through. Not only then, in the aftermath of the happenings in Chile, but also later, while photographing in El Salvador and Nicaragua in the early eighties. Those pictures are the ones that were seen by Roland Barthes, the French intellectual and semiotic, who at that time already had written many books and articles about cultural phenomena that can be read as a text. Barthes introduced the elements punctum and studium in his analysis, stating that any striking picture has ‘punctum’ and all the others are merely illustrations, and offer information with ‘studium’. In a way this was what Wessing had expressly wanted with his photography: that they speak for themselves.

Chili, September 1973 Excerpts
Chili, September 1973 Excerpts

Text excerpts and images excerpted from Koen Wessing: Chili, September 1973.
Koen Wessing: Chili, September 1973

Koen Wessing: Chili, September 1973

ERRATA EDITIONS
Clth, 7 x 9.5 in. / 64 pgs / 15 color / 30 duotone.

$39.95  free shipping



ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the art world's source for books on art & 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
75 Broad Street, Suite 630
New York NY 10004
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 2000-2017 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