Item ID: 8657 Arguments. Ulises CARRIÓN.

The Deluxe Version, Twice Signed


86, [1] p. 8vo (225 x 155 mm.), orig. printed red semi-stiff wrappers, title on spine. Cullompton, Devon: Beau Geste Press, 1973.

First edition, the deluxe version on vibrant multi-colored Strathmore Grandee paper and exceptionally signed twice by Carrión (1941-89). Arguments was printed in a total edition of 400 copies, 200 on Huntsman white cartridge and unsigned, and 200 deluxe copies and signed on the verso of the title-page. The present copy is remarkable for its additional signature on the recto of the first blank leaf, especially given that the artist hardly ever signed his bookworks and reluctantly produced a deluxe version of Arguments — a practice he never repeated.

Formed in 1970 by Felipe Ehrenberg, Martha Hellion, David Mayor, Chris Welch, and Madeleine Gallard, the Beau Geste Press was instrumental in Ulises Carrión’s growing engagement with artists’ books. The scholar Zanna Gilbert recalls in the Beau Geste Press catalogue (p. 405) that in 2017, Ehrenberg “commented that Carrión had never gotten his hands dirty with ink before visiting the Beau Geste Press.” In 1973, the Press published two of his books, Arguments (Autumn) and Looking for Poetry/Tras la Poesía (Winter).

In the Getty Research Institute exhibition catalogue Artists and Their Books, Books and Their Artists (2018), depicting the deluxe version, Zanna Gilbert describes the book: “Carrión humorously interrogates the structure and content of books and the literary devices used by authors and playwrights. The titular exchanges in Arguments are indicated only by the names of the participants, with no reference to the actual content of their disagreements. The distinctly Anglophone names are arranged in various configurations on each page of the book, leaving the reader to wonder about the substance of the disputes. Indeed, as the ‘arguments’ play out across the gridded field of the typeset page, the book increasingly becomes about the materiality of the text itself, with Carrión adding symbols such as the ampersand or violating the names themselves—as when, for example, ‘Marion’ becomes ‘Mar( )ion’—resulting in ever more complex exchanges” (p. 72).

The book was beautifully typeset by Terry Wright, a skilled printer who joined the Press in 1972; laid out by Mayor; and offset-printed by Ehrenberg. Each “Argument” is numbered by hand, with several misnumbered and corrected in this copy (nos. 5, 22, 23, 24). Carrión’s book concludes with an unnumbered page on translucent paper with the entreaty: “My name is Ulises / What’s yours ?”

A near fine copy of the deluxe printing; the slightest wear to the covers and the spine.

❧ Alice Motard, ed., Beau Geste Press (2020), pp. 186-91 (illustrating both versions).

Price: $3,750.00

Item ID: 8657