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Aptly named, THE BONE HOUSE is a collection of Witkin's images covering the period from 1950 to 1998. Witkin himself made the selection of his images. This is the first time I have seen some of these photographs, but many others are drawn from Witkin's better known images. The collection is remarkable. Witkin is not an easy photographer/artist to get next to. He uses death, morbidity, deformity and sexual diversity to continually push at aesthetic boundaries. His work changes the viewer in it's search for beauty among the artifacts of the grotesque. Yet it is not Witkin's intent to shock. Few viewers realize the amount of planning and control that goes into these images. Witken's own writings often depict himself as an aesthetic primitive or pagan, but this is far from the truth. This volume, and the Celant collaboration with Witkin contain preliminary sketches that are worth the price of admission. The artist's unearthly compositions, often composed with human and animal fragments are often drawn from images that come to us from the 16th and 17th century. The book itself is beautifully bound and printed. Twin Palms has done their best to capture the quality of the Witkin prints. Unfortunately, this is a hopeless task. He tears, scratches, paints and waxes a print until it is far more than a simple photographic print. But the reproduction in the book is as good as I've seen. I'm one of the fortunate few where was able to by the edition with the signed etching at it's earlier, pre-issue price. Now that edition is quite dear. If you can afford it, the etching is delightful, and well worth the expense. If not, there is also a less expensive, unsigned version, now in it's second printing, for considerably less. This is unnerving, thoughtful photography.Read more ›
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