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Clifton Meador (1984)

Spaceheater Editions published Clifton Meador's BOOK OF DOOM during the summer of 1984, in Rhinebeck, NY, USA. Clif used multiple pin-registered hand-cut stencils to spray enamel paint onto Rives BFK paper. The edition was to have been 50 but only 35 were made. Clif did all of the spraying. Phil Zimmermann made most of the boxes and did all of the bindery work.

Clif's text and images tell a tale of an end-of-millennial apocalyptic journey into the depths of hell. When the pages are flipped over at the end of the book, it forms a downward spiral that is very reminiscent of the circles of Dante's Inferno.

 Clifton Meador writes: “The initial impetus for this book was to complicate the experience of reading a book through an intricate sculptural experience. Like many other artists, I was interested in thinking about a book as a kind of performative sculpture, a complex structure that the reader has to manipulate in order to read it. I wanted to start with a simple story, so I could make the form as complicated as possible while maintaining a narrative thread. It was 1984, so I imagined the end of the world might be an interesting story to complicate.

The governing visual idea was that when the reader had finished unfolding all the pages and the book was completely open, the book structure would resolve into a mandala, with all the pages contributing to a final image. Since the book was about the end of the universe, an apocalypse of plastic and radios, I found medieval manuscripts were an important visual source for this work and a Spanish—Mozarabic Apocalypse of the tenth century was a particularly rich source of color, pattern, and a flattened sense of space.

At the time I made this book, I had no access to printing equipment, so I produced the edition with pin-registered stencils that I sprayed with four colors of spray paint. When I started this project, I hoped I might be making positive plates from the spray paint separations, but the richness of the spray paint alone convinced me to produce the edition that way. Phil Zimmermann was very supportive of this project and published it under his Space Heater Editions imprint. The clever spine structure that holds the page units together was an invention of Keith Smith, who took one look at it and saw the right way to put it together.”

DIMENSIONS:  10.5” by 14” closed, 18” by 25” when fully opened. Comes in a custom clam-shell box.

EDITION SIZE: 50 (officially, however only 35 were made.) The edition is sold out.

PRODUCTION MEDIA:  Pin-registered enamel spray paint on Rives BFK. Bound by Philip Zimmermann with an accordion spine strip and housed in a custom spray-painted clamshell box.

Clifton Meador is Professor at AppState University in Boone, NC. He received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA from Purchase College, SUNY. He is one of the best known makers of artists' books in the United States today. Among many other awards, he won the 2013 Biennial MCBA Prize.

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