Seattle: Marquand Editions, 2013. One of 20 copies plus 5 artists proofs. This complicated and fascinating artist's book was described and exclaimed over by a number of reviewers and critics at its publication. Most simply, it is a magician's case of graphic story books, but in reality it is much more than that. Chris Byrne's obsessional graphic novel took a decade to realize and another two years to produce. He and designer Scott Newton worked with Paper Hammer Studios in Seattle to construct an audaciously ambitious bit of publishing magic. The Magician is an epic graphic novel, a bookmaking tour de force, a mesmerizing art object, and the completion of over a decade-long obsession of author Chris Byrne. This enigmatic box of wonders houses a dozen separate publications, printed and hand bound using a variety of techniques. Although individual works, they are considered parts of the whole. The twelve books include Theogony, Handmade, Down the Head, Mountain Man/She-Wolf, Letterpress Flipbook, 4-Ply Toilet Paper, Moleskine, The Magician Manual, M'Phase, Unfinished Versions, Colophon, and Curtains [From Marquand Editions website]. The magician's large case measuring a foot long and foot wide is custom-built with plywood and metal and sits atop casters. It is painted black and decorated by a white rope pattern that crisscrosses its width. Wrote art curator and critic Dan Nadel in 2013 about this production: "There is no single apt reference point for Chris Byrne's ingenious The Magician. It is a wunderkammer, a Cornell-ian box, a visual novel, a conjurer's tool kit. Above all it's a moving, multi-faceted graphic narrative. There's never been anything quite like it." From writer and editor Christina Geyer's review in FDLuxe in 2014: " [Chris Byrne] is indeed the author. In this case, though, author is a loaded word - and means much more than one who writes a story. For The Magician, which Byrne began working on as an undergrad student in 1987, it refers to conceptualizing, illustrating, designing and storytelling. The novel - actually 12 stylistically different books in one box - sprang from Byrne's longtime fascination with semiotics and the language of signs. Thus began the idea of creating an alternative comic strip of sorts. It is, in short, a story about a hermaphroditic magician who was conceived in a public bathroom and who eventually creates the universe. 'It's an exploration of the realms of the unreal,; Byrne says. 'It may even be a goof on the creation myth.' The books and their many visuals, illustration and symbols are meant to be read. interacted with and interpreted deeply by the reader....The result is a high-design book and a collectible art object." In fine condition. Extra shipping costs will apply. ARTB/120821. Fine.
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