The Subversion of Images
Notes Illustrated with Nineteen Photographs by the Author
Published:21st Jan '20
Available to order, but very limited on stock - if we have issues obtaining a copy, we will let you know.
First edited and published by Marcel Marien in 1968 in a limited edition of 230 copies, half a year after Paul Nouge's death, The Subversion of Images is a miniature classic in both the photobook and surrealist canons. It collects Nouge's notes and photographs from 1929 1930 to form a guidebook to the surrealist image. Nouge here outlines his conception of the object and outlines the surrealist approach to it, while also offering an accompaniment to the visual work of his colleague, Rene Magritte, whose paintings he sometimes titled. How might a tangle of string elicit terror? How might the suppression of an object move one to sentimentality? What is the effect of a pair of gloves on a loaf of sliced bread?
Nouge's accompanying photographs explore these notions, and feature a number of his Belgian surrealist colleagues. This translation is presented as a facsimile of the original edition, with an afterword by Xavier Canonne, director of the Musee de la Photographie.
A biochemist by trade, Paul Nouge (1895 1967) was a leading light of Belgian Surrealism and its primary theorist, as well as a decisive influence on such Lettrists and Situationists as Guy Debord and Gil J. Wolman, who would take inspiration from his conception of plagiarism for what would come to be termed detournement. Nouge steered the Brussels surrealist group toward a more rational approach to visual and verbal language that discarded the Parisian surrealists' proclivity for irrationality and occultism.