We love Hesse Press, and not just because we are mildly to moderately obsessed with its co-founder, the beautiful and brainy Clare Kelly, who along with her partner John Wiese, launched the press last year (what’s it called when you’re just one single solitary person but you use the word “we” like a psycho?). We (okay I) also love the clean, modern aesthetic of the books, the dual releases, and most of all, the interesting and diverse selection of artists they give a voice to through their releases.
The next two women to be tapped by Hesse Press are no exception: We/I/They/Everybody is really looking forward to the release of books by Kate Hall and Sarah Rara on October 1. Please read my interviews with both women below, and if you are in New York this month be sure to stop by the Hesse Press booth at the New York Art Book Fair (flyer below).
Kate Hall is a Los Angeles based artist and musician who was a founding member of cult punk band Mika Miko and is a current member of Dunes. Her book I Did But I Don’t Anymore features of a compilation of her drawings from the Spring of 2015, accompanied by an essay by the artist Audrey Wollen.
All of the drawings in the book were created around the same time in the Spring of 2015. Is there a a unifying theme throughout?
In 2004 I was in a shooting accident where a bullet went behind my ear and out my mouth. Leaving half of my face insensible, nerveless, paralyzed.
The book is comprised of portraits of myself, of people I know and people I have made up. The drawings answer to my relationship to the face and how it moves and how it expresses emotions, thoughts, identity, personality and our affinity to the world and the world’s relationship to us. The drawings/collages use objects as an emblematic expression that the face is making and I take agency in the gesture. Perhaps it’s clear, maybe it’s not, it’s fun to tell lies. When you look into blackberry eyes do you cry, do you want to eat them, do you love them or are you terrified?
Why did you choose the artist Audrey Wollen as the one to contribute an essay to your book? What’s the general topic?
Audrey is a dear friend of mine, we went to school together at CalArts and were roommates. We lived on top of a mountain in Val Verde with our friend, artist Taralyn Thomas. It rocked, it was a love affair filled with laughs, tears, support, late night talks, parties, terrible television and cheap ramen. Besides the fact she’s a friend she’s an admirable and brave artist, writer and thinker. Audrey doesn’t hesitate around topics of trauma, the body, the feelings, the repercussions.
Without revealing too much, what are some things you did but don’t anymore?
In the present moment there is a removal of an action. The negative space defines and allows for the new, unresolved and spontaneous. I was in love: but not anymore, I was in love: I am in love, I was in love: will I be in love?, I was in love: I will never be in love.
What do you have coming up next?
I have a show coming up at Roberts and Tilton curated by Camille Mary Weiner with artist Jason Yates November 7 – December 12, 2015. My band Dunes also just finished an album that we are looking to put out this year.
Sarah Rara is a Los Angeles based multi-media artists who creates video, film, and performance art. She’s a contributing member of the music collective Lucky Dragons and has shown work and/or performed all over the world, from the Whitney Museum in New York City to the Steve Turner Contemporary in Mexico City to the Gwangju Biennial Hall in South Korea, and many more. Her book Earth Breakup is a collection of polaroids and poems taken and written by Rara in 2015.
How did the geography of the places that the different elements of your book (both polaroids and poems) impact the actual works?
The photographs were all made in Miami—the poems were written in between Los Angeles (my home), a brief stay in New Canaan, and a long trip to Miami. The saturation, lushness, and use of artificial light in the images stems from my time in Miami. Alone in Miami for one month, I made extensive walks in the early evening. The street lights produce colored shadows in the jungle canopy of vacant lots. Green lights produce rose-colored shadows and vice versa. Goethe’s color model unfolds in the street, spreading out across big leaves and pheromone-rich flora. From my apartment window I saw a life-form in the distance suspended in mid-air creeping slowly in space. I went outside to look closer. A green-yellow-black spider the size of my hand built a wide web suspended two stories above my head. Lit by halogen bulbs at night, it cast a tremendous shadow. This image (and others) affected me in the studio. The alien-quality of plants, insects, and architecture in Miami— to eyes that were accustomed to the de-saturated palette of California’s drought-ridden chaparral— was completely startling. I needed to record some of these observations, some notes on seeing Earth as if for the first time.
How direct is the interplay between the imagery and the words?
The images and words are not directly linked, they zoom forward in parallel tracks, two voices not exactly in harmony. An almost-harmony almost-rhyme with occasional dissonance.
Can you tell us a little about the name, Earth Breakup?
The book takes as it’s starting point the dissolving relationship between human and Earth. Shifting between time scales and points of view, the book moves form from minor daily indications of environmental collapse to larger fantasies of repair or escape. I would describe the work as poems for the Anthropocene — looking at the relationship between technology and vision, observation and fantasy.
What do you have coming up next?
I’m shooting a new video which follows somewhat on this train of thought and compiling a new collection of poems that takes as it’s starting point faults and California geology. Beyond that, taking walks…looking around…what on earth?
You can pre-order both Kate and Sarah’s books HERE. Below are the flyers for Hesse Press at the NYABF this month as well as their launch party at the MOCA in October, where we/I/us will be DJing.