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Thames & Hudson: Ernst Wurm, Francis Bacon and Letters from M/M

If you harbour a weak spot for illustrated books in visually creative categories - be it art, architecture, design, photography, fashion, film, or the performing arts - you will find yourself hard pressed to not find an array of delightful releases once you delve into the portfolio of the independent, family-owned Thames & Hudson publishing house, which is comprised of over two-thousand titles in print.

Needless to say, I am beyond excited when Thames & Hudson announces new releases on my favourite artists, e.g. Francis Bacon, as I have yet to encounter an occurrence where the fruit of their curated titles proved to be redundant.

In Camera: Francis Bacon by Martin Harrison examines Bacon’s approach to him channelling his alchemy in the creation of his wickedly energetic, darkly distorted depictions of the world, human anguish and the brutality of his methodology.

What makes the opulently illustrated book a treasure is that it zeros in on both the ephemera found in Bacon’s working documents in his studio as well as photographs, newspaper clippings and art books that have inspired his paintings, despite him having done his utmost to pretend that his paintings came to fruition fully formed.

By doing so, it is endlessly fascinating to be taken on an artfully reconstructed journey that tracks Bacon’s inspirations and reference points and once one is aware, it is hard to unsee how the master recycled them and took cues from the withering and damage photographic prints as they suffered over time.

Ahead of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ descent on terra australis, it is only appropriate for Erwin Wurm and his reimaginations of sculptures through performance via a myriad of media to be graced with a book celebrating his oeuvre from the mid-1990s to the present day.

One Minute Forever sheds light on Wurm’s evolution over three decades and paints a holistic, interweaved picture of an artist that has mastered the craft of the creation of an immersive, participative playfulness that interrogates the way we live, how we view and interact with the world.

Apart from Wurm’s widely known One Minute Sculptures and iconic works, the book features less known emissions and allows one to dive into the rich tapestry of the diverse media he used to create art that in its absurdity never seems to arrive and accomplishes the feat to be constantly in flux, thereby serving as fertile ground to never lose relevance and turning the audience into both an active ingredient and a sculpture itself.

Change of gear - the omnipresent impact of the art of type facing and its omnipresent impact.

Chances are that if you are into iconic fashion brands or music part of which artwork plays a prominent role, you would have come across a brand that was founded three decades ago in Paris, i.e. Mathias Augustyniak and Michaël Amzalag’s M/M.

Heavily infused by graphic design, what started with a focus on the creation of hundreds of unique typefaces has over time evolved to a multi-disciplinary practice and the creation of M/M’s own delightful and endlessly inspiring microcosm.

Thames & Hudson’s take on the duo is through the prism of typographical creations, which upon closer examinations appear put together and pigmented not unlike paintings of centuries gone by, thereby creating their own language.

Arranged in a chronological manner and framed by commentary by collaborators such as Björk, this beautifully arranged tome microscopically examines the details of what makes the typefaces standout, thereby creating a reference point that should prove to be highly relevant for anyone dabbling in the realm of visual culture.


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