Sunday, July 8, 2018

Taryn Simon: Paperwork and the Will of Capital Hardcover – June 28, 2016 by Aliza Watters (Editor), Taryn Simon (Photographer), Hanan Al-Shaykh (Contributor), Daniel Atha (Contributor), Kate Fowle (Contributor), Nicholas Kulish (Contributor) (Hatje Cantz)

Paperwork and the Will of Capital originates in the press and official photographs made at signings of agreements, declarations, memorandums, treaties, communiqués, conventions, contracts and other formalized moments of accord. Simon noticed the ubiquity of floral displays at these occasions. To refocus attention on the workings of power at these signings, she took an oblique approach: a re-creation of the flower arrangements. The flowers were originally a decorative note, a reflex to signal the importance of the occasion. Reconstructed, they are not mere decorations. The people are gone. The documents are absent. The isolated arrangements are like secrets that can be parsed only with the help of their captions

In Paperwork and the Will of Capital, Taryn Simon (born 1975)--one of the most original and challenging conceptual artists of our time--brings together geopolitics, horticultural science and the art of still life to investigate how the stagecraft of power is created, performed, marketed and maintained. At signings of political accords, contracts, treaties and decrees determining some of the gravest issues of our time, powerful men flank floral centerpieces curated to convey the importance of the signatories and represented institutions. Simon reconstituted and photographed the flower arrangements from archival images of key events; she then dried and pressed the flowers as herbarium specimens. This sumptuous book, part nature study, part metaphor, bears witness to an elaborate and intriguing process of artistic deconstruction and reconstruction.

“These flowers sat between powerful men as they signed agreements designed to influence the fate of the world.” --Taryn Simon

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