Contents (December 1976). Ulises CARRIÓN.

Contents (December 1976).

Black & white illus. throughout. [16] pp. 4to, self-bound, stapled. Warsaw: Galeria Remont, 1976.

An extremely scarce exhibition catalogue published in conjunction with Carrión’s first exhibition at Henryk Gajewski’s Galeria Remont. Gajewski (b. 1948), the Polish artist and filmmaker, founded this contemporary art space in a dormitory student club at the Warsaw University of Technology. The gallery operated from April 1972 to November 1979, hosting performance art, exhibitions of photography, stamp art, and bookworks, and many other events. Among the catalogues from the 1970’s and early 80’s of which Carrión was the subject or curator, this is by far the rarest.

This catalogue contains the artist’s celebrated manifesto “The New Art of Making Books,” which had been published for the first time the previous year in Plural no. 41 (in Spanish) and Michael Gibbs’s Kontexts nos. 6-7 (in English). Galeria Remont became one of Carrión’s most important international connections in the vast network of collaborators he formed. Following this show, he curated another exhibition at the Warsaw space — Inne Ksiazki (8-30 May 1977) — and conducted lectures and performances there related to mail and stamp art.

Most of the text in the catalogue reproduces Carrión’s characteristic bold script. In a very frank artist’s statement, he elucidates his pivot from Mexican literary wünderkind to avant-garde language artist: “After extensively publishing short stories and theater plays in [Mexico], U. C. began using language outside the mould of what is usually called literature. Since then, rather than writing poems ‘in the form of’ an advertisement or a dictionary (old literature under new masks), he situates dictionaries, phone-books, ads, or any other manifestations of language, as autonomous structures. His aim is to reveal the beauty and richness of these structures regardless of their referential content. U. C. is still a writer — and he insists on calling himself such — who writes very little or doesn’t even write at all. This is a radical shift in attitude which enables U. C. to concern himself not only with verbal languages, but also with any system of symbols he may come across. He presents such systems either in the form of a book or as a display on a wall.”

Within the catalogue are illustrations of four of Carrión’s language pieces: Six Plays, Homage to van Gogh, To be or not to be, and The Muxlows. Two of these, Six Plays (1976) and The Muxlows (1978), were later published as books.

An exceptionally well-preserved and rare exhibition catalogue. On WorldCat, we find just two institutional copies in the world.

❧ Juan J. Agius & Ricardo Ocampo, eds., Ulises Carrión: Books & More, Catalogue Raisonné (2013), p. 116.

Price: $1,350.00

Item ID: 7959