This new edition of loose sheets celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original publishing in 1965. The project is a collaboration between typographic designer Jamie Murphy & visual artist David O'Kane. The work is introduced with an essay by renowned Beckett scholar Stanley E Gontarski.
The text has been hand-set & letterpress printed by Jamie Murphy in 18 point Caslon Old Face, supported by a newly drawn ten line grotesque typeface by Bobby Tannam, cut from maple by Tom Mayo. David O’Kane has supplied two lithographs inspired by the text, editioned by Thomas Franke at Stein Werk Lithography studio in Leipzig. The sheets are printed on 250 gsm French made Venin Cuve BFK Rives mouldmade.
The edition is limited to 50 copies, 40 of which make up the standard format, ten accounting for the de luxe. The bindings were executed by Tom Duffy in Dublin. The standard is housed in a cloth covered portfolio, protected inside a slipcase. The de luxe is presented in a clam-shell box accompanied by a typographic triptych based on the text. The standard copies are numbered 11 – 50, the de-luxe are numbered 1 – 10.
Each copy has been signed by the collaborators.
(Some standard copies remain, please direct enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org)
We're thrilled to announce that Imagination Dead Imagine has just received a Judges' Choice Award from the Fine Press Book Association. Every second year, a maximum of five of these awards are bestowed at the Fine Press Book Fair in Oxford.
De Luxe copies are now out of print, many thanks to all who have supported the project to date. Some standard copies remain available for purchase and can be seen in several exhibitions over the coming year. Please see the exhibition schedule at the bottom of this page.
Notes on the images
The two images included in this edition were made using a lithography technique called Schablithografie. This lithography technique is highly labour intensive and involves scratching away at a surface of the blackened lithographic stone to form the image; literally scraping light forms out of darkness, reinforcing the constructed nature of the text, which Beckett goes to great lengths to emphasise.
The first image is a kind of schematic. It is not fully formed and harkens back to Greek and Roman style images, suggesting a metaphorical excavation. The letters and image turn it into a kind of logotype (literally word-imprint in Greek) or emblem and form a bridge between the text and the image.
The second image is larger. The unusual format of the image echoes the formatting of the prose text as it appears in this edition. There are noticeable discrepancies between what Beckett describes and what is depicted in the image. The image is in fact a failed attempt to portray what is fabricated in the story. What interested the artist in staging it is the fact that the positions and space Beckett describes are anatomically impossible without gross distortion of the human body. Beckett would have known this as he also sketched the space out in his notes. So he deliberately stresses the cramped nature of the scenario. The fact remains that in the artist’s mind’s eye the extreme positions were not exactly related to what is described in the story. The spatial discrepancies are only revealed completely when the space is mapped out point for point.
The finalised lithographs are a combination of the mental image conjured up during the initial reading of the text and the interpretation of the physical reenactment made in the artist’s studio.
About the collaborators
Stanley E. Gontarski
Stanley is the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University. A renowned Beckett scholar, Stanley specialises in twentieth-century Irish Studies, in British, US, and European Modernism, and in performance theory. He has been awarded four National Endowment for the Humanities research grants, has twice been awarded Fulbright Professorships and has been Guest Editor of American Book Review, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Modern Fiction Studies and most recently Drammaturgia.
Stanley E. Gontarski
David studied from 2007 until 2012 under professor Neo Rauch at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. He was awarded a Diploma Degree with distinction in 2009 and a Meisterschüler Degree in 2012. O’Kane’s studies in Germany were funded by an extended DAAD Scholarship. He also holds a 1st Class Joint-Honours Degree in Fine Art from NCAD in Dublin (2006). In 2014 he won the Golden Fleece Award. This year will also see the publication of an extensive book, which will provide an overview of O’Kane’s practice in recent years. The book is a collaboration between the artist, The Salvage Press and Gallery Baton, with support from the Golden Fleece Award. O’Kane is currently an artist in residence at the Fire Station Artists’ Studios in Dublin.
Jamie is an award winning typographic designer and letterpress printer based in Dublin. His interests lie where contemporary graphic design meets traditional production techniques. Devoted to preserving, promoting and pursuing excellence in design, typography & letterpress printing, since 2012 he has produced his books and broadsides under the imprint of The Salvage Press. He holds an MA in Design from NCAD where he studied under Master Printer Seán Sills. Jamie served as designer in residence at Distillers Press from 2013 until he was appointed printer in 2015. In this role he works primarily with students of Visual Communication. His letterpress printed work is held in many of the world’s most distinguished private, institutional and academic collections.
Long Room Library, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
August 10, 2015
Josef Fillip Gallery, Leipzig, Germany
November 7, 2015 — December 23, 2015
Cavanacor Gallery, Donegal, Ireland
November 7, 2015 — March 20, 2016
The Library Project, Dublin, Ireland
December 10 — December 24, 2015
SO Fine Art Editions, Dublin, Ireland
March 24 — May 5, 2016
Centre for Creative Arts & Media, Galway, Ireland
July 11 — July 24, 2016
Kultur Gut, Hirscheid, Germany
October 22 — December 10, 2016
Gallery Baton, Seoul, South Korea
Gallerie Maïa Muller, Paris, France
Copies of Imagination Dead Imagine can be found in the following institutional collections:
Arizona State University, Boston College, Dublin City Library, Florida State University, Indiana University Bloomington, National Irish Visual Arts Library, National Library of Ireland, Notre Dame University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Trinity College Dublin, Yale University.