Christopher Williams: Printed in Germany
Over the course of his thirty-five year career, Christopher Williams has produced photographs that engage the conventions of photojournalism, picture archives, and commercial imagery—often through a wry combination of parody and homage—and explore their sociopolitical contexts and implications. Using the process of reproduction as a point of entry, the artist questions the communication mechanisms and aesthetic conventions that influence our understanding of reality.
Printed in Germany is the second volume in an ambitious series of books developed by Williams in conjunction with his first major museum survey, The Production Line of Happiness, a critically acclaimed exhibition co-organized for 2014-2015 by The Art Institute of Chicago with The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Whitechapel Gallery, London. Following the first publication, an exhibition catalogue that relied more heavily on text than image, Printed in Germany was conceived to exist as a stand-alone visual object and extend the artist’s conceptual and aesthetic concerns into book form. A perfect companion to the first publication, it reproduces a carefully curated selection of Williams’s painstakingly constructed photographs and features striking graphic design in the near-complete absence of language, with no essay, captions, or even a title page. Through clever manipulations of cropping, ordering, and pagination, Printed in Germany offers readers an original aesthetic experience and comprehensive insight into the practice of one of today’s most thought-provoking artists, while—through pure visual splendor—pushing the boundaries of the artist’s book into new realms. As with all publications in the series, it has been produced in three colors—yellow, red, and green—each of which features subtle differences in layout.
Publisher: Walther König, Cologne
Artists: Christopher Williams
Designer: Petra Hollenbach
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8 1/4 x 10 3/4 in (21 x 27.3 cm)
Reproductions: 138 color
Retail: $120 US & Canada | £75 | €68
In the 1970s, Christopher Williams studied at the California Institute of the Arts under the first wave of West Coast conceptual artists, including John Baldessari and Douglas Huebler, only to become one of his generation’s leading conceptualists. Williams’s work is a critical investigation of the medium of photography and more broadly the vicissitudes of industrial culture, in particular its structures of representation and classification. Using the process of reproduction as a point of entry, the artist manipulates the conventions of advertising, the superficiality of surface, and ultimately the history of Modernism. Deeply political, historical, and sometimes personal, the photographs are meant to evoke a subtle shift in our perception by questioning the communication mechanisms and aesthetic conventions that influence our understanding of reality.
All Christopher Williams books