Several diagrams and manipulations of the text. 2 p.l., 420 leaves (printed on rectos only) & colophon. 8vo (173 x 120 mm.), orig. white cloth over boards, red embossed title on upper cover & spine. N.p.: A. R. Penck & Michael Werner, 1976.
First edition, a rare artist’s book by A. R. Penck (1939-2017). Penck (aka Ralf Winkler) created several artist’s books in the 1970s. The present publication is based on an enigmatic manuscript that the artist composed and it was type-set by Ilka Schellenburg. A sampling of Penck’s statements and entreaties: “I am 2 books”; “I am a lot of letters”; “I am a square”; “I am spelled correctly”; “I am nonsense”; “Who are you?”; “I am between me and You”; “I am text and you are image”; “Please read properly”; “What are you for?”; “I am here”; “Did you read it?”;
“It can be thought of as the epitome of the self-referencing work for it is the book that speaks; on the contrary, the book, as it were, concerns a prosopopoeia of the book which, in the first-person and in the course of the 420 leaves of bible paper, presents in the affirmative, negative or interrogative, without concern for the contradiction, the quantity of propositions concerning it or the reader…This book, in spite of its provocations towards the reader, does not cease calling them as a witness to imply that, whatever the contents, every book is essentially an address, without an audience.”–A. Moeglin-Delcroix, Esthétique du Livre d’artiste: Introduction à l’art contemporain (2nd ed.: 2012), pp. 379-80 (pictured).
A fine copy. Bookplate of John Hunou(?) on front paste-down. WorldCat records just three copies in North America (as of September 2022). A French translation, with the title Je suis un livre achète-moi maintenant, was published in 1981.
❧ M. Glasmeier, Die Bücher der Künstler: Publikationen und Editionen seit den sechziger Jahren in Deutschland (1994), pp. 137 & 138 (pictured).
Item ID: 8463