Why TITTIPUSSIDAD Is this Season’s Mother Lode of Art Books

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 11.36.16

TITTIPUSSIDAD is magical storytelling. The book, by artist Sarah Lucas and photographer Julian Simmons, documents the time Lucas spent in Oaxaca, Mexico, preparing for her exhibition at the Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli in Mexico City. An Aztec-fascist monolith built to house Rivera’s collection of more than 50,000 pre-Columbian objects, the Museo Diego Rivera was as much ahead of its time as it was outside of time: constructed in the 1930s, it preceded the National Museum of Archeology by nearly three decades, yet its collection is organized with no regard to region, epoch, or culture; its arrangement is purely aesthetic, disregarding the items’ history and makers. “Objects surviving from ancient times have lost much of their sense, but none of their power. What is this power?” asks Lucas in TITTIPUSSIDAD, which is itself a work that defies sense with power – it’s a section-sewn hardback of 684 edge-colored pages and 705 photographs that chronicle two weeks of the artist’s work. Arriving just after an earthquake had shaken the Zapotec region of southwestern Mexico, rekindling the local volcano, Lucas said, “This place was one hell of a hub of weird energy, intention … it rubbed off, conducted, got in the veins, as did the chili and the grasshoppers.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

An oral and photographic diary, TITTIPUSSIDAD both shows and tells how Lucas created her work in direct response to Rivera’s collection and the mausoleum that houses it; it’s where the artist found the indigenous bricks she used as bases for her “Nuds” – foam-stuffed nylon tights that are manipulated into Kama Sutra puppets or appendages capable of assuming any pose, including self-penetration. “Tights that make our legs, teddy-bear fluff that make our children, blocks that make our homes, cigarettes that make our thoughts; eternity, future, duration, present,” writes Simmons in TITTIPUSSIDAD. These are fantasy materials, conjuring in us dreams of sex, fairy tales, ideal homes, elevating notions, or the inverse: transgression. “Not a religious thing, not something to be yoked to, more of an illuminating breakthrough, a true emergency,” continues Simmons. “Finding the transparent life in what is inanimate and opaque, you thought that was impossible.” Lucas wraps her “Nuds” around toilet seats or has them emerge from bowls, like scatological or sexy, unsexed pets. As the story of TITTIPUSSIDAD (or, psychoanalytically: Titti-Pussi-Dad) unfolds, Lucas invites us to behold the threshold of sculpture and time: something conscious yet elusive, remembered yet never actually witnessed, ephemeral yet mythic, historical, and catalogued.

TITTIPUSSIDAD is published by Sadie Coles HQ (London, 2013). 
Contemporary Fine Arts gallery in Berlin will launch the title on June, 12, from 6-8pm, followed by the premiere of Lucas and Simmons’s companion film REALIDAD.
www.juliansimmons.com

Deeper

  • TERRITORIAL SIGNALS: A portrait of TOLIA TITAEV

    For 032c Issue 35, we photographed the young Russian skateboarder and designer wearing our COSMIC WORKSHOP collection. “If I didn’t have skateboarding in my life, I have no idea what I’d be doing," he told us. "I owe all my achievements to skating.”More
  • 032c Cosmic Workshop Collection

    032c COSMIC WORKSHOP "Rock Bottom" Vest Black

    €190
    Buy Now
  • 032c Cosmic Workshop Collection

    032c Cosmic Workshop Belt

    €170
    Buy Now
  • 032c Cosmic Workshop Collection

    032c COSMIC WORKSHOP "Maria" Longsleeve Grey

    €90
    Buy Now
  • Life Exists: Theaster Gates’ Black Image Corporation

    Theaster Gates' “The Black Image Corporation” presents photographs from the holdings of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company, a sprawling archive that shaped “the aesthetic and cultural languages of contemporary African American identity.” Gates approached the project as a celebration and activation of the black image in Milan through photographs of women photographed by Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton – of black entrepreneurship and legacy-making. “Life exists” in the Johnson archive, he says, just as it exists and should be honored in other places of black creativity.More
  • FRIDA ESCOBEDO: The Era of the Starchitect is Over

    Rising Mexican architect Frida Escobedo is relentlessly inquisitive, eschewing stylistic constants in favour of an overriding preoccupation with shifting dynamics. Personal curiosity is the driving force behind her practice, which makes he an outlier in a profession dominated by extroverted personalities keen on making bold assertions. "I think it really is a generational shift," Escobedo says. "The idea of the starchitect making grand gestures with huge commissions is over."More
  • “I live a hope despite my knowing better”: James Baldwin in Conversation With Fritz J. Raddatz (1978)

    Born in Berlin in 1931, editor and writer Fritz J. Raddatz relied on food delivered by African American GIs after the death of his parents. To Baldwin he was an “anti-Nazi German who has the scars to prove it.” Debating his return to the USA after 25 years, Baldwin explores the political climate in America at the end of the 1970s in a conversation at home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence.More
  • House as Archive: James Baldwin’s Provençal Home

    For her new book, Magdalena J. Zaborowska visited the house Baldwin occupied from 1971 to 1987 “to expand his biography and explore the politics and poetics of blackness, queerness, and domesticity”. Here, she narrates her early journeys to Baldwin’s home and proposes a salve for its recent loss: a virtual presentation of Baldwin’s home and effects.More