Myth, by Susan Allix
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Please download our 47-page brochure with several two-page spreads reproduced from the original book. (PDF format, 4 MB).
Artist’s book by Susan Allix. London. 2011. 127p. 13.75” x 11”. Of the 35 prints, 15 are etchings, 8 a combination of etching and block print and 2 are lino-cuts. A head of Zeus was made as a wire sculpture, photographed and printed, then the sculpture was reworked as Zeus as an Eagle. In a further five prints the original drawings are reproduced digitally to preserve their characteristics. There are two photographs. The hand set and printed letterpress is 18pt. Bell, Roman and Italic, with titling in Caslon and handcut metal letters. The paper is mould made Somerset Book with Somerset Velvet for the heavier multi-plate etchings. The book is bound in full leather. The front board and spine are covered in black goatskin inlaid with a panel of white calfskin, and the back is red goatskin. On the front cover is onlaid a soft-ground etching of a woman, printed onto hard-grain goatskin and some black dye added in pen. The design is completed with red and white onlays and lettered in random red letters sprinkled over the spine. The endleaves are hemp paper decorated with red ink and drawn black lines, the flyleaves are white with distinct fibres and the double endbands are bright red. Laid in a red dropback box lined with black felt lining; white and black leather title labels with the lettering in red on both front and spine. An edition of 28 signed copies. New.
Allix writes: The Greek myths come to us as stories from an old civilisation. Among their interpretations they present a way of making sense of creation and the workings of the living world. Central to the myths is the relationship between gods and mortals so conflict, desire, retribution, creativity, beauty and ugliness all play a part. This is often within a framework of the fantastic and superhuman, although the gods display very human characteristics of personality and behaviour.
“In this book, accounts of the myths are interpreted and combined with a series of portraits. These are not of ancient Greek heads, freizes or draped figures, but people who characterise and might live in the stories, rescuing them from remoteness and relating them to a later time.
“It is organised into five chapters: Creating the World; War and Punishment; Sea, Sky and Underworld; Desire; Personalities. Within these, the focus is sometimes on the lesser-known myths such as the war with the Titans where Zeus’ thunderbolts bear a resemblance to modern warfare, the story of Cyane who gave her name to the colour blue, or of Alcyone of the halcyon days who was changed into a bird – as discussed by Socrates and Chaerephon.
“Likewise, the texts come from the most famous accounts and those of lesser known writers. Earlier descriptions are by Hesiod and Homer, the later from Ovid’s Metamorphoses with smaller extracts from Hyginus, Moschus, Apollodorus and others. The portraits represent a selection chosen from several hundred visual notes and drawings made over a number of years, sometimes with this book in mind, which have been developed in several ways. The choice of myth and portrait combination was resolved when a myth enhanced a certain portrait, or vice versa.”