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Fizzles (Foirades)

Jasper Johns (etchings by)
Samuel Beckett (author)
Petersburg Press S. A., London, UK
Edition: #233/250
Inscription: Signed by the artist and the author.

Jasper Johns and Irish writer and poet Samuel Beckett collaborated in creating an artists’ book which featured five short prose texts (or ‘fizzles’) by Beckett as well as thirty three original intaglio prints by Johns. This book brings Beckett’s writing style together with Johns’s renderings of crosshatchings, numerals and parts of the human body.

Originally written in French, Fizzles includes a few ambiguous elements within the language due to the translation from French to English. Johns’s etchings within this book work was largely inspired by a four-panelled painting Untitled (1972). This stand-off collaboration was one that involved both Beckett and Johns making use of previous works to help aid the collaboration successfully.

The collaboration between Samuel Beckett and Jasper Johns to create the enigmatic book, Foirades/Fizzles, was conceived by Vera Lindsay (The Curator’s Eye 2017:[sp]) at the Petersburg Press. Johns wished to work with Beckett’s text that he (Johns) had not read, and had predetermined images to work with before knowing what text would be chosen (Boreas Fine Art 2015:[sp]). Beckett recommended five prose fragments that were unpublished, and translated them into English for the purpose of the collaboration (The Curator’s Eye 2017:[sp]). The text was rewritten in English; however the original French text was also included to expand on Johns’ own involvement in the collaboration (Boreas Fine Art 2015:[sp]).

There are separate title pages in each language, and the book is divided into five chapters, according to each “fizzle” (Boreas Fine Art 2015:[sp]). Each chapter is preceded by a numeral etched in Johns’ characteristic style (Boreas Fine Art 2015:[sp]).

Fizzles concerns the curiosity of doubles, contradictions and paradoxes. (Boreas Fine Art 2015:[sp]).

Boreas Fine Art. 2015. [O]. Available: http://www.boreasfineart.com/foirades.html

The Curator’s Eye. 2017. [O]. Available: https://www.curatorseye.com/Name=Jasper-Johns-and-Samuel-Beckett---Foirades--Fizzles&Item=4697#Cat=071&SubC=164&Cat=004&SubC=152

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