“This is…a work which could not exist in any form but that of a book:  its internal complexities — the mirroring and quotation of page shapes, formal divisions of the whole, echoing of the outer edge’s motif — are all elements of its total significance.”

Johanna Drucker
The Century of Artists’ Books

 

In this book Philip Zimmermann reflects on the stress he experienced in the late eighties and early nineties with pressures from his jobs, family, and need to make art. The unusual size and shape of the book, its use of vibrant color patterns and metallic ink, its edgy imagery, its computer manipulations, and its pointed reference to high tension power lines all suggest an electrically charged explosion.

This classic artist’s book has the look and feel of the democratic multiple, i.e., an artist’s book made inexpensively and without a stated limitation on the number of copies produced. High Tension, however, is both part of and apart from that body of work.  It has no limitation but has been out of print for almost twenty years. It does not use standard fine press materials like rich morocco, hand made paper, and letter press printing, but it was nevertheless a very expensive book to produce and was heavily subsidized by corporate donors and the City of Rochester as part of an arts event in that city called Montage ’93.

The last remaining copies of this book have only recently been found and are offered for sale here.

 

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