This is volume two of Batia Suter’s monumental pictorial investigation, the first volume of which is now a collector’s item.
Not everyone on the panel saw it straight away, but one passionate plea eventually convinced everyone. The encyclopedic compilation of images reveals a world of unexpected connections. The entire project stands or falls by the placing and coherence of the pictures, so that its graphic design is a vital ingredient of the project. The seemingly endless succession of images nowhere seems coincidental or dull and the tension is maintained through the entire 586 pages of the book. Great care has also been invested in selecting the occasional injections of colour. Having looked at the book one would have wished to see the associated installation. The visual spectacle is tremendously seductive, though the choice of typeface is curious.
A book like this can only be made thanks to the computer, but it is actually an anti-computer book. In our digital era it is a remarkable statement to bring out such a large volume of images in this way. The panel were full of praise for the fact that here the book has been used precisely in its role as a meaningful medium. The publisher runs a considerable risk in respect of the copyrights. Here the approach has been uncompromising and clearly the leap in the dark is deliberate. There’s no question of substantive lithography but sometimes, the panel thought, exaggeration is justified if it heightens the effect. One or two panel members thought the book could have been more raw. The hard case was liked but its green metallic paper was felt to be possibly a little too kitsch. For the rest there is nothing in this powerful book that could be described as coincidental.