MIKHAIL KARASIK’s BOOKS / 2000—2009
Daniil Kharms. ON THE DEATH OF KAZIMIR MALEVICH
St Petersburg, 2000. 335 × 355 mm. On the death of Kazimir Malevich by Daniil Kharms is a poem written on May 17, 1935 on the occasion of the Suprematist artist’s death. The book is Karasik’s homage to both the poet and the artist. Poem and (Suprematist) illustrations are lithographed in violet ink bound in a canvas cover decorated with a fabric design by Malevich. The 27 copy edition of 27 exists in two versions:
1) 9 copies have ten lithographs printed on canvas;
2) 18 copies have fourteen pages lithographed on paper. The slipcase for the book is printed in violet ink and contains Karasik’s commentary on the poem. A booklet with an English and German translation of both poem and commentary is included.
Mikhail Karasik. THE TREAD
St Petersburg, 2001. 308 × 100 mm. The tread is a story on different shoes and ways of walking. The book is created in collaboration between initiator Karasik and Victor Remishevsky and both artists have signed the edition of 10 copies. The text written by Karasik is silkscreen printed on one side of nine hand casted sheets of paper cut in the shape of shoe-soles prepared by Remishevsky. These sheets are bound with two metal rings between two actual inner soles size 46 or 47. The tread is presented in a clamshell box with orange paper over board. Both box and felt sole cover have the title in handset letterpress print.
Mikhail Karasik. THE MITTEN
St Petersburg, 2001. 140 × 260 mm. The mitten. An essay, is another collaboration between Mikhail Karasik and Victor Remishevsky. As was the case with The tread, the text again was again written by Karasik. This time the design is by Remishevsky. The text is printed on 12 rounded-off sheets of paper bound between plastic flyleaves riveted to a felt workman’s mitten backcover. This back-cover is mounted to the front cover, another workman’s mitten, with two metal rings. On the front side there is a silkscreen portrait of Karasik in black. The mitten is presented in a clamshell box with blue paper over board. Two booklets with English and German translations of the essay are included. The mitten was published in a 30 copy edition.
Mikhail Karasik. THE SUITCASE
St Petersburg, 2001. 460 × 370 mm. The suitcase. A drama, written by Karasik after the motifs of Daniil Kharms short story The old women. The text is printed with letterpress print on 6 sheets of paper (12 pages). Ín addition there are 7 sheets of canvas with illustrations on the primed side and lithographed texts on the reverse. The seven illustrations are executed in acrylic paint. The artist published a total of 11 copies of this book, all of which were presented in a covers made with suitcase fabric inside a plywood slipcase.
Mikhail Karasik. THE PASSPORT
St Petersburg, 2001. 360 × 250 mm. The passport is the artist’s second self-portrait, published 5 years after Self-portrait. ‘A passport is probably the most formal and featureless biography of a person. Yet it speaks volumes to officials about the holder.’ Karasik has made a pastiche, blowing up the size of the internal Russian passport while retaining its actual design. With personal additions, text and portrait photographs, he has made it less official and more personal. There are 24 pages on which the text is presented both in Russian and in English. All 30 copies of the book are presented in a red paper envelope with collage and stamp.
Mikhail Karasik. THE LABOUR BOOK
St Petersburg, 2001. 320 × 240 mm. The labour book or an autobiography with an industrial tendency is similar in concept to the concurrent publication The passport. The 30 copy edition size is again an enlargement of an official document. The artist’s text is printed on top of the official pages in silkscreen. This time there are no photographic illustrations. Only text published under the imprint M.K. Publishers. The book is presented in a cardboard folder entitled Personal Records, printed with handset letterpress. An appendix with an English translation of the text is included.
Mikhail Karasik. ECCLESIASTES 2000
St Petersburg, 2002. 440 × 297 mm. Ecclesiastes 2000 written by the artist refers to the book Ecclesiastes in the Bible. It consists of 6 folded sheets (24 pages) of white paper with six full page colour lithographs illustrating the text lithographed in green. The Russian language text was written with reed pen, the separate English translation is silkscreened on 7 folded sheets of paper. Both the loose sheets of the book and the appendix are kept in a lithographed paper cover. The 15 copy edition as well as the supplementary artist proof have two slipcases: the first of folded Plexiglas, the second made of black cardboard.
Mikhail Karasik. THE BANK BOOK
St Petersburg, 2003. 350 × 250 mm. The bank book is similar in concept to The passport and The exercise book, published two years earlier. As with these books, this book is an enlargement of an official document in a 30 copy edition. The artist’s text is printed in Russian and English on top of the official pages using silkscreen. These pages have official stamps and the author’s commentaries in pen en ink have been added. There are no illustrations. By adding his own text to these accurately reproduced official features, the artist turns the document into a platform of lyrical statements, thus defeating Soviet totalitarian officialdom.
Mikhail Karasik. LAVATORY
St Petersburg, 2003. 465 × 335 mm. Lavatory by Karasik is «not a quest for answers to questions on the national character, consciousness, soul or anything else» but a celebration of public lavatories as hidden pieces of architecture, the desolate and repulsive national heritage and personal nostalgia. On 5 folded sheets (20 pages) of black paper the authors text has been silkscreened followed by 12 photographs taken by Dmitrii Ulybin. The photographs are presented additional text. any words. They speak volumes. The 13 copy edition is bound in black cardboard covers and has a black cardboard slipcase.
Mikhail Karasik. BOOK ON TASTY AND HEALTHY FOOD
St Petersburg, 2003. 450 × 365 mm. Book on tasty and healthy food is Karasik’s homage to the renown «art book» from the 1950s and 1960s with the same title. Almost every Soviet household had a copy of this cookbook containing over twenty glossy colour plates. For this 15 copy edition the artist made a double page lithograph on paper and nine lithographic full page illustrations on primed sheets of canvas, printing his text on the reverse side. Paper and canvas sheets are bound in cardboard that is covered with green paper;, the inside flyleaves are covered with original 1970s posters. A paper plate is mounted on the cover upon which the title is printed. On the green linen spine, three uniform stars have been mounted. The book is kept in a clamshell box with a crushed fork and spoon.
Mikhail Karasik. ACTS. DEDICATED TO BLOOM
St Petersburg, 2003. 514 × 340 mm. Acts. Dedicated to Bloom (Tableaux after James Joyce’s Ulysses) is a collection of pornographic images based on vintage postcards. «Bloom takes a pack of postcards from the bureau. He studies his collection of pornographic postcards. He probably remembers when he was a boy. In the evening, on the seashore, he watched a girl in white stockings sitting across from him. She slowly parted her legs and he saw her white knickers and straps.» The album consists of 3 sheets printed with title, text and table of contents followed by 15 sheets of coloured lithographs within cardboard covers and a slipcase. Karasik published it in 12 copy edition in two versions:
1) 5 copies with sheets loose between the covers;
2) 7 bound copies.
Joseph Brodsky. SPEECH OVER SPILLED MILK
St Petersburg, 2003. 578 × 220 mm. Speech over Spilled Milk by Joseph Brodsky contains Karasik’s homage to a disappearing city: the distinctively heavy wooden doors of the St Petersburg tenements that are increasingly being replaced by null metal doors without character. The old doors date from the time when the poet used to walk around the city. His poem is printed in between lithographed photographs of the doors. To read the poem, one must open the doors. The 24 (folded) pages are bound between plywood covers which are kept in a Plexiglas slipcase. The book is printed in a 17 copy edition and was published only after the poet’s widow consented.
Aleksandr Borovsky. A WORD ON MIKHAIL KARASIK’S EXHIBITION ‘SELF-PORTRAIT’
St Petersburg, 2003. 203 × 203 mm. A word on Mikhail Karasik’s exhibition ‘Self-portrait’ written by Aleksandr Borovsky was the introduction to Karasik’s personal exhibition held in St Petersburg in 2003 at the Ludwig Museum in the State Russian Museum. The text is printed in handset letterpress on 8 paper plates riveted together at the left margin by a single rivet. Karasik published a 200 copy edition. Each is kept in a square cardboard slipcase repeating the title within green margins showing fishes, insects and some roots in the silkscreen print.
Mikhail Karasik. THE SILVER AGE. RUSSIAN TYPES
St Petersburg, 2004. 550 × 360 mm. The book The Silver Age. Russian Types. An album for contemplation is an allusion to Boris Kustodiev’s Russian types published in 1923. It is a tribute to and a postmodern analysis on its centenary of the heyday of Russian art and literature. Karasik mixes time and space in the short, ironic text preceding the album. After this introduction there are 11 colour lithographs composed of reworked old photographs and erotic postcards. The sheets are bound between cardboard covers with monochrome printed paper and a linen spine. Each of the 17 copy edition has a Plexiglas case to present the book.
Mikhail Karasik. BOARD OF HONOUR
St Petersburg, 2004. 425 × 330 mm. Board of honour is Karasik’s next step in self-portraiture. Following his enlargements of official documents he now presents a personal portrait gallery of the famous and infamous. In 15 portraits, colour lithographs on primed canvas, he presents people (his parents and grandparent and Etkind, Altman, Chagall, Malevich amongst others) who were crucial to his personal or artistic development. The canvas sheets are bound in paper covered cardboards. On the cover he shows smaller reproductions of the portraits placed in the arcades of Gostini dvor, the merchant galleries along Nevskii Prospect, as was the custom to honour heroes in the bygone Soviet days. The 25 copy edition has a cardboard slipcase upon which an enamelled metal plate has been mounted.
Mikhail Karasik. MATIE HERRING
St Petersburg, 2004. 90 × 223 mm. Matie herring. A spicy, salted essay by Karasik is a short text expressing his appreciation of this tasty Dutch way of preparing young herring. The text is handset letterpress printed on a package of 7 paper plates that typically are used to serve the herring when sold from a stall. The plates are screwed together and kept in a black paper slipcase upon which a paper herring-label has been mounted. The 30 copy edition includes an appendix with an English translation of the text.
Mikhail Karasik. F(IN)ISH
St Petersburg, 2006. 210 × 435 mm. F(in)ish by Karasik combines the different meanings of the Russian word Ryba. Normally is translated as Fish, but it is also the exclamation that is shouted when placing the last domino to win the game and in printing it refers to a mock up of the book. In appearance, this book comes closest to the second meaning of the word: on each right hand page there is are domino style numbers while the opposite page has articles, tales, and essays in Russian and English. In total there are 56 pages of black paper with the text and dominoes printed by silkscreen in white. The book, printed in a 37 copy edition is kept in a black cardboard box printed with a white silkscreen.
Mikhail Karasik. THE PALACE OF THE SOVIETS
St Petersburg, 2006. 210 × 435 mm. The Palace of Soviets. Design competition, recalls the Soviet Tower of Babylon. It was to be the highest building in the world, celebrating the power of the Soviet Union but turned out to be only another example of human arrogance. Karasik has dredged up its story from the murky waters of Soviet history. In this album he shows us the Stalinist Atlantis in 17 coloured lithographs on BFK Rives paper. Combined with 3 sheets of introduction and the title pages, these are bound in an aluminium covered book, printed in offset within a paper covered cardboard slipcase. The album was printed in a 15 copy edition.
St Petersburg, 2006. Ø 430 mm. Genesis, the first book of the Bible, tells the story of the seven days of creation. Karasik in this publication uses seven round sheets of paper, showing seven different round iron manhole covers. Like the Lavatory book and the doors in Speech over Spilled Milk, it is a celebration of the vanishing old, city of St Petersburg. On the back of these manhole covers, the text of the first three chapters of the book of Genesis is printed in four languages: Russian, English, Latin, and Hebrew. The sheets are bound with one metal screw inside round aluminium covers. The book, printed in a 15 copy edition and is kept in an orange cardboard box with a loose lid showing a manhole cover. On the inside of the lid and the bottom of the box nine images of manhole covers are printed.
Mikhail Karasik. TO THE AFFIRMER OF THE NEW ART
St Petersburg, 2007. 397 × 593 mm. Daniil Kharms. On the death of Kazimir Malevich / To the affirmer of the new art; this is Karasik’s celebration of two of the main inspiring figures in Russian avant-garde art (Malevich) and literature (Kharms). Main focus is on the black square that, like the poem, played a major role in Malevich’s burial ceremony. The first sheet contains the title page with poem printed on the reverse side, which is followed by 16 coloured lithographs on BFK Rives paper, 11 of which have an image of the black square. All lithographs combine Suprematist imagery with contemporary photographs. The 17 sheets are kept loose in a folder together with an introduction booklet in English. A 21 copy edition was printed.
Mikhail Karasik, Serge-Aljosja Stommels. JOSEF ALBERT MARIE LEMMENS. PASSPORT
St Petersburg, 2008. 185 × 273 mm. Josef Albert Marie Lemmens. Passport was printed by Karasik in a 20 copy edition to commemorate the sixtieth birthday of Albert Lemmens on April 28, 2008. Design and idea were by the artist in collaboration with Serge-Aljosja Stommels (1967), author of the accompanying Dutch text ‘Who am I?’ It is an enlargement of a Dutch passport, model 1950 (changed to 1948 for the occasion) similar to Karasik’s passport from 2001. The text is printed in offset on light blue paper, totalling to 20 pages, stapled inside a grey linen cover. The first five copies have a dust-jacket to which a calendar sheet has been applied.
Mikhail Karasik. THE DRAMA OF MARINETTI
St Petersburg, 2008. 390 × 585 mm. The Drama of Marinetti or The story of how the leader of World Futurism flopped in Russia. A feature-documentary-compilatory-comedy from the life of Italian and Russian Futurism in eleven scenes. A long title and subtitle explaining the precise contents of this imaginary tale by Karasik compiled from old news facts. There are twelve sheets with lithograph illustrations graphically evaluating Marinetti’s legendary visit to Russia. The illustrations, made with reworked old photographs, are on the front side while offset text of the drama has been printed on the postcard-like image on the reverse side. These have been bound with an additional blank sheet in cardboard covers and are kept in a cardboard box. The drama was published in a 15 copy edition.