Reinier Gerritsen- The Last Book

This week we feature four photographic projects that attend to the topic of books and permanence. These artists diversely explore how the paper book is lent to considering the disappearance of lifeways, the degradation of material, the discarding of once-evocative objects, and their replacement with imperfect machines.

Ayn Rand, Anthem. From the series "The Last Book" © Reinier Gerritsen.

Ayn Rand, Anthem. A dystopian fiction novella. In some unspecified future, mankind has entered another dark age characterized by irrationality, collectivism, and socialistic thinking and economics. Technological advancement is now carefully planned (when it is allowed to occur at all) and the concept of individuality has been eliminated. From the series “The Last Book” © Reinier Gerritsen.

The Dutch photographer Reinier Gerritsen thinks about books and permanence in the subways of Beijing, Paris, London, and New York. Adding his vision to those of street photographers like Enrico Natali and Bruce Davidson, Gerritsen looks at the subway as a place both public and private. In his series “The Last Book,” riders lose themselves in the world of books while aboard packed underground trains. Gerritsen’s photos capture our transition away from paper books and towards e-readers and ipods.

Gerritsen sees the paper book as an endangered species, predicting that “the last book” will appear in the spring of 2016. Passengers neighboring the old-fashioned readers of paper books look across curiously, or with glazed eyes, at these dwindling objects. In true street photographic tradition, many also look straight at the photographer and silently interrogate his intentions.

Gerritsen is also interested in the books themselves, how they form a social map all their own. His captions list the author, title, and something of the plot, significance, or publishing history of the works. His statement reads:

Gerritsen statement

Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. From the series "The Last Book" © Reinier Gerritsen.

Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken. From the series “The Last Book” © Reinier Gerritsen.

Hunt, David. The Magician's Tale. From the series "The Last Book" © Reinier Gerritsen

Hunt, David. The Magician’s Tale. As eerie as a midnight walk in the fog. Hunt starts the fog machine by introducing us to the bleak world that a San Francisco photographer named Kay Farrow sees with the starkness of a reverse negative. It shows us light and dark, truth and deception, even good and evil, in ways we never imagined. From the series “The Last Book” © Reinier Gerritsen

Murakami, Haruki. 1Q84. The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo. A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84. A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery. From the series "The Last Book" © Reinier Gerritsen

Murakami, Haruki. 1Q84. The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo. A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84. A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery. From the series “The Last Book” © Reinier Gerritsen

Rushdie, Salman. The Satanic Verses. Set in a modern world filled with both mayhem and miracles, the story begins with a bang: the terrorist bombing of a London-bound jet in midflight. Two Indian actors of opposing sensibilities fall to earth, transformed into living symbols of what is angelic and evil. A key work of our times. From the series "The Last Book" © Reinier Gerritsen

Rushdie, Salman. The Satanic Verses. Set in a modern world filled with both mayhem and miracles, the story begins with a bang: the terrorist bombing of a London-bound jet in midflight. Two Indian actors of opposing sensibilities fall to earth, transformed into living symbols of what is angelic and evil. A key work of our times. From the series “The Last Book” © Reinier Gerritsen

About the artist

Reinier Gerritsen has been photographing figures in the public sphere for over twenty years now. His major start was in 1992, when he was awarded the prestigious Rijksmuseum-NRC assignment with Luuk Kramer, which resulted in a book and solo exhibition at Rijksmuseum. Beginning in 2005, he traveled to 25 countries to create the ambitious, documentary project called The Europeans. His previous monographs include Blinde verrassing (Fragment, 1993), award-winning Matti (2002) and Wall Street Stop (Hatje Cantz, 2010). Learn more about his work on his website, here.

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3 thoughts on “Reinier Gerritsen- The Last Book

  1. Pingback: Kerry Mansfield- Expired | wall space gallery | the flat file

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  3. Pingback: Peter Bennett- The Voyage | wall space gallery | the flat file

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