Looking to buy some interesting pressies this Festive Season? Well, have a look at this selection of possible gift ideas. Books and DVDs make wonderful gifts, and might even go on to hugely inspire your intended receiver. You may actually be giving and sharing much more than you realise.
Slow Painting Do you like slow? This book from Hayward Gallery features work that explores slowness in painting – how it might be in the making process itself, the reveal or from a more art historical context.
Hedwig Bollhagen and the HB-Workshops: Sample Pieces and Series Objects features the amazing works from this most important 20th century German ceramist. Up to her death in 2001 she created timeless ceramic shapes and decor, sumptuously illustrated here.
Jun Yang: The Emperor of China’s Ice There’s an old Chinese myth on which this children’s book is based. It tells how blocks of ice are buried in the winter, only to be served up as ice cream in the summer months. The book was published after the joint Jun Yang and Austrian Sculpture Park project in 2018/19, where a 1m cubed block of ice was buried one November and unearthed the following May.
Dennis Adams. Bus Shelter XII was published alongside the creation of artist Dennis Adams’ usable bus shelter which was put up to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kunsthalle Bielefeld, positioned pride of place in the art gallery’s forecourt. Part of the bus shelter features two huge TV screens that show a 2-hour long film of English and German quotes and phrases. Some of these are the words of the original architect of the building, Philip Johnson.
Alec Soth DVD. A Film by Ralph Goertz In this film influential contemporary photographer Alec Soth talks about his artistic approach, presenting his now famous series of works like Songbook and Niagara.
Chantal Joffe: The Front of My Face Every day for a whole year artist Chantal Joffe painted a new self-portrait. Published alongside her exhibition at Victoria Miro Gallery in 2019, she seems to be asking the viewer to speculate about her innermost thoughts. It’s the same face each time, but what do the portraits reveal?
MARVEL: Universe of Super Heroes is a celebration of 80 years of Marvel History, including oodles of images, interviews and information. Some texts are by the legends and stars in the field, including the late, iconic Stan Lee.
CityFactory is a notebook from real time designers StadtFabrik that aims to make us think about city life. It is a book that is intended to be written in and shared. People should use it, learn from it, pass it on and spread their wisdom; learning from each other and creating new ideas for cities that are fit for the future. The ultimate aim is to give people the highest quality of city life.
Crossing of Innumerable Paths: Essays on Art: Guy Brett features 14 essays from influential and celebrated art critic/curator Guy Brett. It includes essays on the artists Ana Mendieta, Dias & Riedweg, Javier Téllez, Jimmie Durham, Monika Weiss, Len Lye, Gianni Colombo, Liliane Lijn, Gego, Anne Bean, Aubrey Williams, Victor Grippo, Peter Kennard and Lygia Pape.
The Lisa and John Slideshow: A Play About Photography In the 1980s David Moore made his colour documentary picture series Pictures from the Real World featuring family life. Then in 2012 he revisited them again and took the full archive to two of his original subjects, asking them to select the images themselves. The result was an acclaimed script and play, The Lisa and John Slideshow, and now this book of the same name. It includes 40 prints that have never been seen before.
The Brooks Press of Wirksworth: Chris Brooks contains the poignant photographs of Chris Brooks who returned to research his Derbyshire-based family printing press over a period of 10 years. He knew little about the press because his father had died when he was just a teenager. The resulting photos examine the pull of history and also ask questions about what it means to be ‘in’ and ‘out’ in an era where this really matters.
Haroon Mirza: Movement 1 When is the moment that noise becomes music? That’s what Haroon Mirza’s creation of complex audio creations asks us. This book was published back in 2011, when the artist exhibited his installations at Lisson Gallery in London, but these copies have only recently come to light.
View India: Contemporary and Lens-based Art from India includes the work of 19 lens-based artists and gives us great insights into both the state of contemporary photography, as well as daily life in India today. Interviews with 5 key players reveal what it is like to be a photographer in today’s India, as well as giving their thoughts about the publishing, showing and curating of their works.
Tacita Dean is published after the artist’s exhibition at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria in 2018/19 and includes three of her most significant film works – FILM (2011), Merce Cunningham performs STILLNESS… (2008) as well as the more recent Antigone (2018).
Martin Parr: Kleingärtner In Germany, allotment gardeners (Kleingartner) have become such a cliché. Here, using his own British sense of humour, Parr has created a series of photographs to help celebrate the phenomena, using pictures taken at allotments in both Düsseldorf and Krefeld. This book was created for his retrospective show held in Düsseldorf in Summer/Autumn 2019.
Birgit Nielsen: 100: An Homage was published in 2018 to help celebrate what would have been a century since the birth of this much celebrated soprano, who could easily flood theatres with ‘oceans of sound’. Considered ‘Queen of the Wagnerians’, this book on Birgit Nielsen covers her 40-year operatic career, showing her to be one of the all time greats of her generation.
Jonas Kaufmann: A Picture Journey If Opera is your thing, then what about this other title on ‘King of the Tenors’, Jonas Kaufmann? He currently captivates audiences across the globe and these photographs show highlights of his career to date.
Claudette Johnson: I Came to Dance Claudette Johnson’s powerful, larger-than-life painting studies of black women are beautifully featured here. The book is published after her show at Modern Art Oxford in 2019. According to Steve McQueen (1992), “Claudette Johnson’s work is rooted in her African heritage. Her talent is as powerful as it is obvious.”
Anyway, those are just some of our pressie ideas and you don’t have to be limited to just these alone. They also don’t have to be presents. Why not just treat yourself?
Photo-caption: Image taken from Alec Soth, DVD (Koenig Books, 2019)