Smith, Kiki. Fountainhead. [ Columbus, Ohio ] : Logan Elm Press. 1991.
A classic example of artist Kiki Smith’s investigation of human anatomy, Fountainhead is an artist’s book that depicts various body parts emitting their associated bodily fluids. The prints include eyes leaking tears, a mouth dribbling saliva, an ear oozing wax, and more. The isolated body parts and their occasionally provocative arrangement within the book suggest to some the influence of Surrealism. Two of the images in this book are printed on pages that unfold to reveal a full print, demonstrating the influence of medieval books on Smith’s work. Smith has used this format in inventive ways for a number of other works.
The seventeen images in this book were printed from photoengraved plates in black ink with white, red, brown, and yellow inks for the depictions of the bodily fluids. No text accompanies the prints ( the only written text is the title page and colophon). The images are printed on heavyweight textured abaca paper with deckled edges. Handmade at the Logan Elm Press and Papermill of the Ohio State University, this paper gives the book a tactile quality that intensifies the viewer’s response to the unvarnished depictions of the body.
Fountainhead features a half-binding in brown cloth with dark grey paper sides. The front cover is stamped in silver with a design representing six droplets of liquid. Paper labels on the spine are stamped in silver with the author’s name, the title, and the press name. Silver-colored pastedowns and a headband of silver-colored bookcloth complete the binding.
This book was published on the occasion of an exhibition of the artist’s work organized by the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1992. It was created in an edition of 115, with 100 copies numbered 1 – 100 and 15 copies marked I –XV. This copy is signed and numbered 76 by the artist at the colophon.
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