Stamping Out Civility

One of the most ambitious and exciting indie book publishers is Siglio Press (“uncommon books at the intersection of art and literature”). Director Lisa Pearson, who recently relocated from Los Angeles to the Hudson River Valley in New York, is dedicated to publishing uncommon cross-disciplinary art and literary books—or what Siglio says are hybrid works that defy categorization. They are authored by both renowned (John Cage, for example) and little-known artists and writers who play with word and image in provocative, unfamiliar ways.

Siglio was founded in 2008. You can read its manifesto “On the Small & Contrary,” originally published in the American Book Review, as well as interviews by me on The Daily Heller, by Thomas Evans (part one and part two) on Artbook.com, and more at The Believer Logger, Essay Daily and VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts.

 

 

For me, the most exciting book of the Fall publishing season (featuring one of the best covers) is The Stampographer, which showcases the fantastic, anarchic imagination of Parisian artist Vincent Sardon, whose “dark, combative sense of humor is infused with Dadaist subversion and Pataphysical play,” Pearson says, noting that it includes the first interview with the artist in English.

Using rubber stamps that he designs and manufactures himself, Sardon engages in a medium often representing bureaucracy, then uses those stamps to undermine that authority. “He scours the Parisian landscape as well as the world at large, skewering the power-hungry and the pretentious, reveling in the vulgar and profane.” In The Stampographer, there are insults in multiple languages, sadomasochistic Christmas ornaments, and a miniature Kama Sutra with an auto-erotic Jesus. Sardon also uses the stamp as satirical tool and weapon, deconstructing Warhol portraits into primary colors, turning ink blots into Pollock paint drips, and clarifying just what Yves Klein did with women’s bodies. Whew!

 


 

 

“Yet Sardon’s razor-sharp wit is tinged with the irony of his exquisite sense of beauty. The stamps are rarely static—they have an animating magic, whether boxers are punching faces out of place or dragonflies seemingly hover over the page. Sardon’s work is provocative in its subject matter as well as in its process and dissemination: He not only stands defiantly outside the art world’s modes of commerce but his artworks (the rubber stamps themselves) are actually the means with which anyone can make a work of their own.”

 



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