The Kali artists with the three AP copies
We began our limited edition portfolio on the social network platform of Facebook with that status line where it asks, “What’s on your mind?” At the time I was staring at a tanghka on my studio wall and I idly wrote, “The manifestations of Kali.” Ria Vanden Eynde of Belgium, an artist I had exchanged some mail art with replied and suggested collaboration on a piece. Soon Susan Shulman of Canada joined the conversation and the idea of a limited print edition based on the Goddess Kali was born. We had become acquainted through participation in the group show, A Book About Death at the Emily Harvey Gallery in NYC in 2009. Although we never actually met, we were acquainted with each other’s work from the online blog documenting the exhibit. Over the course of several weeks we worked out some rough guidelines; double sided folios would be folded and placed unbound in a clamshell case.
We set no deadline but as we shared pieces by posting on Facebook several artists surprised us with their own Kali images. Eventually, we decided to announce an open call for this type of image and were pleasantly surprised when, by last December, we had over 100 works by 80 artists. The works ranged from traditional media, mixed technique, spoken word, video and performance. These we documented on a dedicated blog then compiled a DVD of the material. The DVD has since made debuts in Berlin, Montreal and Boston.
My work on Kali went the route of performance as well and I developed a shadow theater production that was performed on Long Island at CW Post and in Boston at the Mobius Artist Space. During this period we collaborated on several more projects including posters for International Women's Day and videos, and works for new venues of A Book About Death.
We finally had enough material by spring of 2011 and I began a process of making trial proofs that were sent to Canada and Belgium for approvals. The printing and case construction was complete over the course of the summer.
The six hands of the artist group Seeking Kali
All that remained was to finally all meet so the works could be signed. While I had meet Susan twice on occasions when she visited NYC, both of had yet to meet Ria outside of our weekly Skype progress sessions. We settled on September in NYC since Ria was traveling to the US for a show of her work in Florida at that time. All that remained was to determine where to sign the edition.
Taken at Hyperallergic Headquarters in NYC (photo credit: Hrag Vartanian)
We contacted Hrag Vartanian at the art blogazine Hyperallergic and he graciously agreed to host us as we set up, signed the works and documented the process. We were pleasantly surprised that that he wrote a short piece on us in Hyperallergic, given the timing of his other deadlines.
The 18 month journey was complete on September 16th as we sat in the Williamsburg, Brooklyn Headquarters and signed.
The edition, ‘Kali’, rests in a handmade cloth covered 9” x 12” x 2” drop spine case with the title and artist’s names in 24k goldleaf. We produced this as an edition of 9 with an additional 3 artist proofs. The books contain 6 double-sided prints from each of us. A hand-stitched booklet contains artist statements, biographies and screen grabs from our original Facebook conversation completes the edition. Folio sheets are printed on Moab 190 Entrada rag with the Epson Stylus Pro 3800 ink jet.
The edition is available starting in October through TBCL (The Book Collectors Library) a Montreal based dealer of Livre d'Artiste. I'll make the link to TBCL when the book is posted to their site. More information on our collective works and future projects can be found at seekingkali.com
Inside the Kali edition case