Monks Dogs Death and Men with Guns
Philip Blenkinsop's first handmade book.
Unique. Created in 1997.
xx of the Artist's hand-printed Argentic photographs (Burma, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam) mounted on 300 gsm archival art paper and assembled between prayer-cloth-covered wood covers, wood spine with inlays; silver and earthen Buddha image, casing from a spent 50 calibre machine-gun round from the tank battle on Pochentong Boulevard during the coup d'etat in Phnom Penh 1997. Embossed title on brass foil. Bound with black steel hex nuts.
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The geographic constraints of the room are amplified by the presence of my psychotic lover who for her own unfathomable reason decides to make the space as uncomfortable and noxious as she possibly can.
In a small and shrinking corner of the room on a table improvised from boxes I work for the following week, trying to let the mental torture roll over me, escaping as I can for lungfuls of air and sanity on the Chao Phraya and focusing on the design and build of the book which will house a selection of images that best represent who I am and the work that has been the subject of my focus during my first eight years in Asia.
In August I fly to Paris and, book in hand, make my way to Perpignan for the Visa Pour l'Image Festival, Mecca for Photojournalists all over the globe.
There, in a stolen corner of a cramp little room on the first floor of the Hotel Pams, 'life and death' exchanges taking place amid the infectious energy born of that chaos, I share the book with Christian Caujolle, the founder and Artistic Director of 'lAgence VU and Gallery VU.
He tells me I will be joining the agency.
For the following ten years my book lived in Gallery VU.
It was the vehicle which introduced my work to a wider audience for the first time. In terms of personal history, it is undoubtedly the most important object I have ever created.