The album cover that launched a thousand flatbed scans.

December 16, 2011

Below is the cover for the 1983 New Order album Power, Corruption & Lies, designed by Peter Saville.  I don’t know who the still life is by but the key thing is the key: on the front cover, instead of in the fold or on the back hidden away, Saville makes the genius decision to include (or keep) the printing-matchup color key for the album’s ink colors.  That’s essentially where most of the slugs and drops and slits came from.  (Kaucyila Brooke is the other inspiration but that’s another post.)  Part of it is wanting to overlay a dimensional object with flat space, to both document and replace painting, but part of it is taking this simple idea and running with it.  (Saville’s a genius but if you’ve followed his work at all even just via Joy Division/New Order/etc. design that’s self-evident.)

Also as a bonus here’s a precedent that I didn’t know about until my friend Geoff scoped it recently; in the late 1980s, LA artist Don Suggs painted flat rectangles of color over small images.  I’m not sure whether he painted them over photos (I think) or over paintings he made first, and in typical American gallery fashion LA Louver never got back to me on that (European galleries are a lot warmer regarding questions like this in my experience) but whatever the case they’re fantastic work and they really make a case for how a photographic image and a flat plain of color can work together/interfere with each other so that the color is an emphatic statement but only strengthens what you want to make of what you see when you look at the image behind it.  This one is Garden of the Asylum, unknown date:

And then of course there’s Gavin Hipkins by way of Ian Wallace and the whole Vancouver conceptual photography gang but that’s a whole other post altogether.  And because I’m so fixated on pushing this as far as it goes I’m back making new slugs and drops again even though I had put the paint etc. all away and was done.  So much for that.  I do have other photos to post here as well though, sometime soon.  (My unserious attempt at making “midwestern” art.)

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