ARTISTS’ BOOK - EDITION OF 20
Materia [Some Kind of Mystery].
(Lisbon): [Self-published] (in association with XYZ Books), (2016).
Small 4to (235 × 160 mm), pp.. 116 black-and-white inkjet photographs. Black endpapers. Hand-painted boards, open spine. Signed and numbered on rear free endpaper. Fine.
First edition thus, limited to 20 unique copies, each with a different title. Materia is the first book in this edition, which is a re-working of material shot for Maddock’s III series (2012-16), which was published by Trolley in 2014. It includes 48 additional photographs in a revised sequence, with only one or two occasional variations in the other copies, though some contain written and drawn interventions by the artist. Together the 20 books form a series entitled ‘Some Kind of Mystery’.
Maddock explains: ‘I wanted to revisit the work in a more free way and give more clues to why I made this odd collection of images, but also to further develop some of the ideas I began in 2014. In some way this involves taking it into a fuller state of confusion. I have included portraits in this version, as these are people I encountered along the time of making this. They felt conspicuous to my mind by their absence in III.
There is a conscious reference to some historic American photography and a certain homage to artists I never knew before but found out about during the course of making the work. But what I thought about mostly was that these are the streets of Bukowski, Chandler, Fante and the Beats. It’s this history which excites me the most, writers who made ambivalence to this place a dishonorable underground American tradition. They made it possible to see magic in California again, even if you had nothing. To believe in saints perhaps dressed in rags, style transcending the materialistic world.
There is set piece in a TinTin story ‘The Calculus Affair’ where a piece of sticky tape travels around the world, caught on different peoples hands. It takes an unshakably inadvertent journey, appearing again just as you had forgotten about it. There is something about this white tape’s significance/insignificance that was on my mind as I started these pictures.’