Over the course of his 35-year career, Christopher Williams (born 1956) has produced photographs that engage the conventions of photojournalism, picture archives and commercial imagery--often through a wry combination of parody and homage--and explore their sociopolitical contexts and implications. Using the process of reproduction as a point of entry, the artist questions the communication mechanisms and aesthetic conventions that influence our understanding of reality.
Printed in Germany is the second volume in an ambitious series of books developed by Williams in conjunction with his first major museum survey, The Production Line of Happiness, a critically acclaimed exhibition co- organized for 2014–15 by The Art Institute of Chicago with The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Whitechapel Gallery, London. Following the first publication, an exhibition catalogue that relied more heavily on text than image, Printed in Germany was conceived to exist as a stand-alone visual object and extend the artist's conceptual and aesthetic concerns into book form. A perfect companion to the first publication, it reproduces a carefully curated selection of the artist's painstakingly constructed photographs and features striking graphic design in the near-complete absence of language, with no essay, captions, or even a title page. Through clever manipulations of cropping, ordering, and pagination, Printed in Germany offers readers an original aesthetic experience and comprehensive insight into the practice of one of today's most thought-provoking artists, while--through pure visual splendor--pushing the boundaries of the artist's book into new realms. As with all books in the series, it has been produced in three colors--yellow, red and green--each of which features subtle differences in layout. A third publication in the series, slated for publication in 2015, will include installation photographs from all three presentations of The Production Line of Happiness, essays related to exhibition symposiums and full captions for all of the images included in Printed in Germany.
Born in Los Angeles in 1956, Christopher Williams studied at the California Institute of the Arts under the first wave of West Coast conceptual artists, including John Baldessari and Douglas Huebler, only to become one of his generation's leading conceptualists. Since joining David Zwirner in 2000, the artist has had seven solo exhibitions at the gallery, including recent presentations at the locations in London in 2013 and New York in 2014. Major museum collections which hold works by the artist include The Art Institute of Chicago; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He lives and works in Cologne and Los Angeles.