Magali Duzant is an interdisciplinary artist and writer whose practice investigates the poetics of perception and experience through photography, installations, writing, and artist books. She has published three books with Conveyor, most recently, The Moon and Stars Can Be Yours : Notes on Subway Psychics, a pocket sized guide to modern mysticism by way of the New York City subway system. She is based in New York.
Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry – Leanne Shapton, Sarah Crichton Books, Farrar, Straus And Giroux
When it comes to photobooks or artist books I have a very particular love for those that sit a bit outside of the norms. I came to making artist books through a love of reading. My own books are never “photobooks” per se, rather they incorporate images I have made and collected, text I have written or sourced. So when I find books that feel as if they’re creating their own categories, I am hooked. Shapton’s work is sensitive, funny, and contains lovingly thought out worlds. This auction catalog traces a relationship, its beginning and end, through all of the personal effects and bits of ephemera we collect. In looking at the little things, the day to day things, a much larger story of love and its end emerges.
I bought this on a whim years ago and ended up finally reading it in 2015 whilst on a residency in Australia. It has since become my “trip book.” It has come just about everywhere and has scuffs and stains to prove it. Years later, the book was a constant companion when I was working on my book Light Blue Desire : A Manual For The Color Blue. I ended up writing about blue idioms, very much focused on the playfulness and fluidity of speech, but Nelson’s book deeply sparked the possibility of emotion and experience in language for me. The way that Nelson writes, fragmented, rhythmic, reflective weaving through fact and feeling has been incredibly inspiring to my own writing.
I am a long time admirer of David Horvitz’s work and working methods. What I love so much about his work is a combination of such intelligence, humor, and simplicity that the work feels effortlessly smart, critical, and genuine. I first came across his project Public Access as a free PDF via his email newsletter. He made 50+ photographs on 50+ publicly accessible beaches on the California coast, all of himself gazing out on the ocean à la Caspar David Friedrich. The photos were uploaded to the beaches Wikipedia pages, to serve as visual metadata, but when editors started to notice the figure linking each image, a discussion began over the legitimacy of the photos. Many of the photos were taken down. This unfolding of the work into many definitions of “access” including its availability as a PDF is just perfect. How to Shoplift Books is just what it sounds like; a collection of ways – foolish, romantic, poetic, practical – to steal books. Through its mix of direct and imaginative advice it shines a light on the act of book selling, buying, and decision making.
This was the first photobook I ever purchased, in many ways the first book that introduced me to the world of photobooks. I came across it in a photography class during my undergraduate studies at Carnegie Mellon and it’s stuck around. The book is very much what the title says, a day-to-day life. Deveney’s photographs are intimate, warm, kind and paired with Bert’s handwritten captions and drawings, it opens up the “day-to-day” to include the sights and sounds, the actions performed but also the moments that came before, that we replay in our minds, hold onto in our hearts. The book is simply lovely.
I am such a fan of Olivia Laing’s writing, from The Lonely City to her novel Crudo. In this book, she walks the length of the river Ouse, in which Virginia Woolf drowned herself, from source to sea. The book floats through the place of rivers in literature, history, and love. This ability to connect historical and contemporary times through the lens of the writer’s own experience is something I come back to, over and over again. The chapter listing feels like a work of art in its own right.
I was given this book by someone special after we briefly met Izet Sheshivari in Geneva, where we had gone to see the original documents pertaining to the cyanometer. I remember, on the train ride back as the sun began to set over the lake, thinking how beautiful and incredibly particular the book was and kicking myself for not buying it. From the marbled cover available in many colors to the slim, almost bricklike profile, this publication is so much of what I love about books, artistic objects that hold reams of thought and inspiration. Produced out of an exhibition at the Fondazion Giorgio e Isa de Chirico the book acts as a series of perspectives on the museum space, enlivened throughout by the placement of contemporary artists work within the museum’s setting. When I got ready to head back to NYC, the book was sitting on the table waiting for me.
A book of mourning but also of celebration, Rachel Monique… is a tribute to Sophie Calle’s mother. I don’t think it’s possible for me to make a list of inspirations / favorites / references without including something by Calle. I have such distinct, electrifying memories of experiencing her work – a fantastic retrospective at Fotomuseum Winterthur that caused me to laugh out loud in delight, a wildly clever exhibition at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature a few years ago, or simply opening this particular book and seeing the shine off of a black and white image, the reproduction of a journal entry. It is without a doubt the most beautiful book I own, both in its concept and construction. I have a soft spot for works that are designed specifically as books – less so works that feel like portfolios but ones that create their own space, books that are stand alone from a photography project, or like this one document a work of art (an installation at the Palais de Tokyo) and build upon it, creating something else to hold in one’s hands.
Sheila Heti’s book hit that sweet spot – the right book at the right time. Heti writes about the choice between motherhood and art. What struck me so forcefully was the ambiguity and contradiction within it, she processes and overprocesses, she feels guilt and empowerment. She uses the I Ching. It’s classified as a novel but feels more like an unspooling or an unfolding, not in a negative way, rather in the way that one’s life reveals itself in flashes, looping back and forth, a “narrative” never quite linear, somewhat cyclical. It was after reading this that I felt more assured in using myself as the “test subject” in my research for The Moon and Stars… It gave me a certain confidence to write myself into my work, to process through big and small personal reflections in text.
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