“A PRIMAL, VOYEURISTIC APPEAL”
WITKIN, Joel-Peter. Joel-Peter Witkin. [Madrid]: Ministerio de Cultura, 1988. Square octavo, original black debossed cloth. $650.
First edition of this stunning exhibition catalogue issued to honor a landmark 1988 exhibit of Witkin’s photographs in Madrid, boldly signed by him on the half title, featuring 85 black-and-white and full-color illustrations, including 25 photographic plates. This copy with additional laid-in photogravure exhibition postcard (4 by 6 inches) inscribed to Anna Winand, noted photography editor and critic, “To Anna, Joel-Peter Witkin.”
A crucial feature of Joel-Peter Witkin’s work is his interest in violating “the strict norms of Western culture… and the homogeneity of mass media” (Roth, 24). As seen in this handsome exhibition catalogue, “the calculated madness of Witkin’s photographs conveys a sense of 19th-century horror… exerting a primal, voyeuristic appeal” (New York Times). This elegant edition, with its elegant debossed cross on the front board, appeared in conjunction with an inaugural 1988 exhibit at Madrid’s Centro de Arte Reina Sofía that launched the exhibit’s tour to Tokyo, Paris and other cities. With a laid-in postcard displaying a photogravure image of Witkin’s Mujer sobre una mesa (1987) on the recto above Witkin’s inscription to Anna Winand, noted critic long associated with New York’s International Center of Photography. Essays in Spanish by Witkin, Alain Dupuy, Juan Miguel Hernández León and Antonio Saura. As issued without dust jacket.
A fine inscribed copy.