Unpaginated. 14 vols. Large folio (all 300 x 220 mm.), printed semi-stiff covers, titles on spines. New York: Robert Ryman, 1997.
A unique set of books created by Ian Wilson (1940-2020) and published by Robert Ryman (1930-2019). Known primarily for his intangible language-based work, Wilson, from the 1980s, undertook a lengthy series of artist’s books under the title Section(s), publishing the first, Section 30, with the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum in 1982. He collaborated on these publications with a number of galleries, institutions, and private collectors, such as Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, Art Metropole/David Bellman, Victoria Miro, Kunsthalle Bern, Ghislain Mollet-Viéville, Maeght Lelong Gallery, Ryman, Michel Claura, etc. From 1982 to 1990, Wilson’s book practice was rooted in single volumes printed in editions of 500. Beginning in 1992, however, he experimented with unique books in multiple volumes, the first being Sections 60-69, Absolute Knowledge. With the galleries representing him — Peter Blum and later Jan Mot — he co-published several of these sets. According to the catalogue raisonné Ian Wilson: The Discussions, the present set was owned by Peter Blum. In fact, he sold it in 2001 (personal correspondence).
From the colophon: “This work is complete when sections 195-208 are presented together.”
In excellent condition. Offered with the two original bookends that are part of the work.
❧ Ian Wilson: The Discussions (2008), p. 173.
“As the quintessential vehicle for communication and thought, language replaces traditional representation in Ian Wilson’s work…Wilson has rigorously shunned the creation of any form of physical object and has sought to resist all forms of objectification. Since 1968 he has operated principally through the channels of speech, turning only in the 1980s to also include the production of sets of books based on the repetition of a single abstract verbal construct such as ‘unknowable,’ ‘absolute knowledge,’ or ‘perfect.’”–Anne Rorimer, New Art in the 60s and 70s: Redefining Reality (2001), pp. 89-90.
“Wilson has also produced a number of artist books, each simply titled Section followed by a number. The word ‘section’ reminds me of how nations organize their constitutions according to ‘acts’ and ‘sections.’ … Linguistically, a section also always implies a pre-existing whole. A section can only be derived from a whole. Chapters have a different connotation in that they are like building blocks toward a whole. After all, a chapter can be incomplete while a section is always complete to the extent that it is a section. As such, naming his artist’s books Section followed by a number is homologically related to Buddhist or Hindu sutras, collections of canonical texts that were then assembled into a book of teachings.”–Ken Lum, “Ian Wilson: From Chalk Circle to Full Circle,” in Everything Is Relevant, Writings on Art and Life, 1991-2018 (2020), p. 241.
Item ID: 8097