I’ve been pretty content with the working title of the next collection for the best part of a year. As the book starts to feel like a book (that is, more detached from me as an individual, more an independent artifact) The Resurrection of the Body… seems to do what’s needed.
I’m less certain about a cover image. I’ve been very taken with an image of one of Spencer Tunick’s naked gatherings (installations? happenings?) and had it on my phone and PC for a while, to the point where I’d started taking it for granted. There’s something churchy, bleakly funny, disproportionate, hard to get a handle on in this image of Buffalo 6 (Central Terminal, Albright-Knox Art Gallery) 2004.
When the first proofs of the collection arrived last week, though, I revisited Tunick’s work and came across a couple of other images which set bells ringing. Both seem to have a sense of baffled afterlife, a slightly skewed eroticism cohabiting with a dumb innocence, that picks up on one of the collection’s areas of investigation. This image (Dusseldorf 4 (Museum Kunst Palast) 2006) is stunning, but like the other Tunick would need some imaginative handling to make a book jacket.
As would this amazing image – look at what the water does to skin tone, even our perception of the reality of the bodies and parts of bodies submerged – recording an installation entitled New Mexico 3 (Spencer Hot Springs, SITE Santa Fe) 2001.
But reading the proofs I’ve realised that there is also a strand dealing with the predicament of the untrained or self-taught artist, or the artist whose personal journey has taken him or her away from what they’ve been trained or taught to do. Moscow Joe McKinley is the book’s main example, and looking again at some images of McKinley’s work, which Peter Haining drew my attention to back in 2005, I wonder of one of these might not provide an arresting image for the book cover.
It’s not easy to track down detailed (or indeed any) images of McKinley’s creations on-line, but in the pics included in this brief essay by Peter Haining – useful background stuff – there’s a shot of an assemblage (with speared head of a shop-window mannequin) that has started to feel very right indeed.
Thoughts or suggestions welcome…