“The end of art is not the end.” as Ad Reinhardt once said.
The book by Stefan Sulzer tells the story of a visit by the author’s mother to the Dia Art Foundation in Beacon, NY, to see Ryman’s white paintings on display. Once there, the mother felt so offended by the elegant, simplicity of Ryman’s paintings, that she slowly, but in a focused manner let her hand slide across one of the paintings. Stefan Sulzer combines this story with statements and information about Ryman’s work to create a selective and poetic narration of the analytic and emotional reception of art.
The design of the book borrows strategies imployed by Ryman in his own work. The excessive use of white space builds a subtle and hermetic object, which is connected to a statement from within the text, ‘‘Mallarmé talked about the white of the page as a void that gives relief from the intensity signified by the blackness of print.”
“… By looking through the lenses of both protagonists’ perspectives, it creates something invaluable in a fracturing world: empathy and, therefore, tolerance. Line by line it digs deeper and deeper for what really counts. Without ever dictating to you what to think about the written, it only blocks one exit for us: judging too easily, too quickly. I thought of my mother. Subsequent generations can enjoy the privilege of learning more about nearly everything. Who knows … in 30 years you might damage your son’s quantum fridge by opening it the wrong way. Fortunately this won’t matter as long as not only technology evolves, but also the way we describe and perceive what goes on around us. Great artists sometimes have the ability to predict a future. This is undoubtedly an artist book – but certainly not one only about art. I’d rather call it poetic and political. I read it thoroughly from front to back: I recommend you also give yourself a chance to let its pure, radical concept unfold.”
– Christian Kaspar Schwarm, Independent Collectors, 8booksayear.com
Second Edition, 2016