Images © Victor Burgin. Used with permission.
[expanded book viewer]
New York : Lapp Princess Press, c1977.
1 v. : chiefly ill. ; 16 cm.
N7433.35 .U6 L37 1977 ARTLCKS
Victor Burgin's Family is one of eleven volumes published in a series in the late 1970s by Amy Baker's Lapp Princess Press. Baker began the series with the aim of providing a conceptual space for artists to explore the possibilities and restraints of the book form. Meant to be affordable, portable, and easily reproducible, Baker set the dimensions of each work at six inches square and selected papers and inks that were widely available to printers.
Burgin's response to his commission was to embrace the sequentiality that a bound book demands, presenting a textual narrative, a series of images, and a progression of upper- and lowercase letters. The thick paper pages, bound with a plastic spiral, mimic the design and simplicity of children's alphabet books. Yet, as in many of his other works, Burgin appropriates this simplicity in order to draw attention to the complex, unwritten cultural messages that photographs and other cultural objects can bear. As he textually describes the submission of family structure to the dictates of capitalism, he also employs ordinary, black-and-white photos in order to illustrate his point, the neutral-seeming images "absorbing" meanings in their juxtaposition with his text. And hidden in the letters, photos, and caption words on the right side of each page are the elements of three overarching concepts: F-a-m-i-l-y (spelled by the letters at the top corners), F-a-t-h-e-r (spelled by the first letters of the objects in the photos), and M-o-t-h-e-r (spelled by the first letters of the words beneath the photos). These three roles are always highly dependent upon, and influenced by, the socio-economic forces that surround them.
Further reading on Lapp Princess Press:
Korner, A. "Interview: Amy Baker, Editor of Lapp Princess Press Ltd., Talks to Athony Korner." Drawing 1, no. 1 (May-June, 1979): 8-10.