Today it's International Book Day and to catch you by surprise we have decided to highlight our favourite three books from the past year, some of which were featured in print and others solely online. In addition to this, we are feeling generous this week and want to give you all a treat: we have a lot of products on offer in our shop and if you use the code BOOKDAY35 you will receive a 35% discount on all the books available. Have a look at the selection here.
Dust – Klaus Pichler
In GUP#44 we featured the series Dust by Klaus Pichler as part of the portfolios, but this body of work has also been published as a book, in limited edition of 450, signed and numbered. They are available directly from the man himself. Before purchasing the book, however, you may be interested in some background information regarding Pichler's interest in dust bunnies which he come across in various establishments like pet shops, sex clubs and museums. So here we go.
He takes an uncomfortably close look at the surplus substances that gather in corners and underfoot, drawing our attention to the evidence, oft thought invisible, that we leave in our wake. Its contents reveals much about the life that goes on in the rooms where it is found, although we human beings tend to ignore it, only willing to give it consideration when dealing with its removal. Pichler's clean images attract our attention, forcing us to uncover (for ourselves) where these minor piles of dust have gathered, almost as if we are part of a detective series.
Flick through the images and see if you can figure out, without reading the names, where he found each pile of waste.
See more images from the series in our portfolio.
Tranquillity – Heikki Kaski
Heikki Kaski takes on a tour of a small Californian town named Tranquillity. Which happens to be the name of the book. In photos of dry and endless horizons we see the distant mountain ranges and vast nowhere that encloses Tranquillity, offering the semblance of an enclosure as small dust storms whirl up in mini tornadoes, both threatening and harmless.
Scenes from the small town and portraits obscured by light offer us an impression of the depth of life that exists there and our inability to access it completely. We are relegated to the role of outsiders, fascinated but uncomprehending. The notion of nowhere is strengthened in this way, making it feel like a distant memory. But it's the richness in the photography than enables us to feel connected anyway, even while cognizant of the wall that separates the townspeople from us.
The images, a mixture of black and white with colour photography, express lush emotion. Kaski's book offers in photographic form that deep urge inside of us to be protected and defensive, while just underneath, we offer evidence of limitless love, for those who are willing to make the leap with us.
Read more about the book in our full book review.
H. said he loved us – Tommaso Tanini
Tommaso Tanini introduces a book to us that, from the outside, offers a minimum amount of information. The title printed on the spine is merely suggestive: H. said he loved us.
Yes, that H.
The book's title is an ironic retort to the command of the German Democratic Republic regime that its people should love the state above all else, even family. And it is the surveillance culture that sought to enforce this love that is the book's topic. Tanini's book is what we might call historical fiction, a braid of made-up narratives wound from strands of fact. Here they are built up from excerpts from literature, real testimony of life and betrayal in East Germany, and photographs found or made by the artist himself.
H. said he loved us is a book lover's book. It wastes nothing of its 120 pages, yet it hardly feels spare or thin. It moves with poetic brevity, earning every square centimeter of its space on the shelf.