December 13, 2012 Author: São Trindade
Bad Liver and a Broken Heart is the first book of photography from artist São Trindade (b. 1960, Portugal), named after a song by Tom Waits:
Well I got a bad liver and broken heart,
Yeah, I drunk me a river since you tore me apart
Though, with fourteen images printed on the front and back of seven loose-leaf sheets of paper, and folded in half as the only suggestion of binding, calling the work a ‘book’ is something of a loose interpretation. In grainy black and white images, Trindade is the subject of her own photographs, portrayed in various staged scenes, always passed out haphazardly and in some state of costuming and undress. Yet, with only the title providing guidance on how the images should be interpreted, it’s a project that can be seen as somewhat gently absurd. In the repetition of representing the epilogue, the unconscious post-buffoonery, there’s an implicit untold narrative of both sadness and humour.
Mimicking the style of crime photographer Weegee, the photos are dark scenes lit with a bright flash, which adds to the sensation of a post-mortem analysis when viewing the pictures. The printing complements this, with rough matte paper and half-tone printing with visible dots, adding to the newspaper crime aesthetic. The strength of the book is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously; it’s a light-spirited, broken-hearted misadventure.
Bad Liver and a Broken Heart is published in an edition of 300 copies, and is available for sale from publisher GHOST editions.
Reviewed by Katherine Oktober Matthews.