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FUEL Publishing

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Hardcover, 6.5 x 8 in. / 240 pgs / 30 bw.

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Catalog: FALL 2010 p. 46   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9780956356246 TRADE
List Price: $32.95 CDN $43.95

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In stock

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FUEL PUBLISHING

Danzig Baldaev: Drawings from the Gulag

Edited by Damon Murray, Stephen Sorrell.

"Tell me now, you educated animal, about how you preached genetics, that bourgeois anti-Soviet ersatz science, in your university department, or you'll be breathing through your arsehole!" <p>Drawing and caption reproduced from <a href="9780956356246.html">Drawings from the Gulag</a>.Drawings from the Gulag consists of 130 drawings by Danzig Baldaev (author of the acclaimed Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia series), describing the history, horror and peculiarities of the Gulag system from its inception in 1918. Baldaev's father, a respected ethnographer, taught him techniques to record the tattoos of criminals in St. Petersburg's notorious Kresty prison, where Danzig worked as a guard. He was reported to the K.G.B. who unexpectedly offered support for his work, allowing him the opportunity to travel across the former U.S.S.R. Witnessing scenes of everyday life in the Gulag, he chronicled this previously closed world from both sides of the wire. With every vignette, Baldaev brings the characters he depicts to vivid life: from the lowest "zek" (inmate) to the most violent tattooed "vor" (thief), all the practices and inhabitants of the Gulag system are depicted here in incredible and often shocking detail. In documenting the attitude of the authorities to those imprisoned, and the transformation of these citizens into survivors or victims of the Gulag system, this graphic novel vividly depicts methods of torture and mass murder undertaken by the administration, as well as the atrocities committed by criminals upon their fellow inmates.
Danzig Baldaev was born in 1925 in Ulan-Ude, Buryatiya, Russia. In 1948, after serving in the army in World War II, he was ordered by the N.K.V.D. to work as a warden in the infamous Leningrad prison, Kresty, where he started drawing the tattoos of criminals. His collection of drawings, which he made in different reformatory settlements for criminals all over the former U.S.S.R. over a period of more than 50 years, have been published by Fuel in three volumes, in the bestselling Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia series.

"Tell me now, you educated animal, about how you preached genetics, that bourgeois anti-Soviet ersatz science, in your university department, or you'll be breathing through your arsehole!"

Drawing and caption reproduced from Drawings from the Gulag.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

The Observer

Roland Elliott Brown

In the Soviet Union, desk drawers became sarcophagi; entombed within them were the creative endeavours of the most talented and perceptive Soviet citizens. Yet it is best not to idealise such hiding spaces as reserves of dormant illumination; indeed, there may have been no limit to the depths of darkness possible within them.
Consider the case of Danzig Baldaev. Born in 1925 in Ulan-Ude, in east-central Russia, Baldaev was the son of an ethnographer who was arrested as an "enemy of the people". He grew up in an orphanage for the children of "enemies" and following his service in the second world war was "forced", as he described it, by the NKVD (a forerunner of the KGB) to work as a warder at Kresty prison in Leningrad, now St Petersburg. His employment in the Soviet penal system took him all over the USSR, but in private, he poured the psychological detritus of his profession into a terrifying work of sadistic pornography, which he dedicated, in 1988, to Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

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TO VIEW THE BOOK'S TRAILER, PLEASE VISIT OUR DRAWINGS FROM THE GULAG PAGE ON YOUTUBE.

"The drawings in this book reveal an episode of the most horrific suffering in the life of a country that is known for its capacity to endure suffering.
Initially they appear over-dramatic, focusing on the grotesque and the aberrant. Perhaps because they aren't photographs it is easier to dismiss them as a figment of a disturbed imagination. But even a basic reading of the literature concerning this period reveals that they are undeniably 'factual' drawings. There is a disturbed imagination at work here, but it belongs to the interrogator, the guard and the criminal. Although these interpretations of Gulag scenes are drawn by an artist, and retain the unmistakable identity of his hand, Baldaev has resisted pictorial flourishes, communicating his views in a direct and unswerving way. Where gulag literature uses a turn of phrase or metaphor to help us imagine its surreal horror and give us an emotional understanding, Baldaev's harsh vernacular drawings tell the story using a straightforward, unremittingly brutal method, faithful to the system he was attempting to document."

Excerpted from the introduction to Drawings from the Gulag.

FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

DAMON MURRAY AND STEPHEN SORRELL | DATE 7/21/2010

Ex Libris: Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell of Fuel

EX LIBRIS: Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell of Fuel

London-based Fuel design group was founded in 1991 by Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell. The firm quickly became known for its bold, thought-provoking self-published magazine, its commercial work for other publishers, its short films, film titles and television commercials. In 2005, Fuel Publishing was born, and a series of influential and best-selling books (including the Russian Criminal Tattoo series) quickly followed.  continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

JANE BROWN | DATE 10/4/2010

INTERVIEW: Damon Murray & Stephen Sorrell on Danzig Baldaev and Drawings from the Gulag

Tales from the Gulag

D.A.P. Vice President and National Accounts Director Jane Brown queries Damon Murray & Stephen Sorrell, publishers of Fuel, on their new book of drawings by the late Danzig Baldaev, a Russian prison guard who made unique chronicles of the infamous gulags. continue to blog


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Danzig Baldaev: Drawings from the Gulag

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