text by JEFF RIAN
photography by TERRY RICHARDSON
artworks by JACK PIERSON
Of all artists, those who travel the most seem to be poets and photographers. They search for subjects through travel experiences, where places rekindle an urgency they feel as wordsmiths or picture makers. It’s not simply the newness that travel offers but the effect of difference on the sensibility. In Arthur Rimbaud’s The Drunken Boat, the poet looks to free himself from social constraints and to arrive at the unknown. He does this to cultivate his sensibility and further a vision.
Terry Richardson and Jack Pierson have two common interests: both are photographers of people and lifestyles, and both are interested in American signs — real signs, signage.
One of Terry’s artistic passions is to catalog isolated signs, emblems that announce stores and bars and brands and places of entertainment. He photographs them obsessively during his travels. They are quintessentially American; they reflect the reductive simplicity of nicknames and the peculiar way that Americans shorten and condense events and experiences and even knowledge into casual signs and metaphors.
Besides his own photographic work, Jack Pierson makes word sculptures from the letters he salvages from junkyards and old buildings, the word signs and marquees, which he recombines. Where once they made up single names, he mixes up the letters and creates new words, which he attaches to walls and sometimes sets on the floor.
Whereas Jack travels around to find his alphabetical elements, Terry photographs the original signs. Jack turns them into word sculptures on walls; Terry treats them as photographic recognitions, which he shows on his website. Both recycle alphabetic memory — words as signs as symbols as synthesizers of places and meanings. Each gathers images that recall the boxy typography commonly found in the American West starting in the 19th century and flourishing at the dawn of the age of highways and road trips, where single words spelled out easy-to-read messages for food, alcohol, and places to eat, sleep, bowl, shop, or gamble. Pierson rescripts letters into new themes that make one think about oneself, perhaps even poetically, but each letter takes the mind back to their origins as common signs. Richardson captures their origins, lifting them out of their roles and recasting them as a poet might highlight a word. Together they revisit an American folk art that may now be dead.
[Table of contents]
Two girls in Shikoku and the Seto Inland Sea _ Japan
by Erika Kurihara
Carsten Höller in Kinshasa _ Democratic Republic of the Congo
by Carsten Höller
Robert MacFarlane _ Walking and the Wilderness
by Xerxes Cook
A day in Beirut with Charbel Haber from Scrambled Eggs _ Lebanon
by Negar Azimi
Two-Way Mirror / Hedge Arabesque by Dan Graham _ Fondazione Zegna _ Trivero _ Italy
by Xerxes Cook
Eileen Gray’s e.1027 house, 1929 _ (before renovation) _ Roquebrune- Cap-Martin _ France
by Peter Lyle
Shiraz to Esfahan (and back again) _ Iran
by Xerxes Cook
Bordallo Pinheiro Garden _ Lisbon _ Portugal
by João Basto
Terry Richardson x Jack Pierson _ Ready-made poems _ United States
by Terry Richardson and Jack Pierson
Christmas in Patagonia _ Argentina
by Max Farago
Cameron Smith and Kat Hessen _ On the road again
by Cameron Smith
Just back from Havana by Gary Indiana _ Cuba
by Gary Indiana
Victoire de Castellane _ Seychelles 2003 and Île de Ré 2013
Victoire de Castellane