It’s In the Book
It’s In the Book
Collage, Hand-painting, Ink
12 × 9.5 × 0.5 in
Out of Print
This is a major, complexly exceptional BDT artwork of expressionist artists’ bookmaking. A frantic, passionate, profoundly evocative, gesturally painted narrative of the kind that is rarely seen in the sequential book form. Reading this book is like being hit by lightning, you don’t know exactly what happened but you have been aesthetically electrocuted. The revelation is on a cellular level. The book is an epic poem about identity and affiliation both social and romantic. As usual Tripp swings between sweeping and trenchant social commentary and intimate personal confession, also alternating between deceptively simple poetry in English to Tripp’s version of the iconic symbol language of the Karuk culture.
The book was started in the 1980s (Tripp does not date his art and eschews colonial linear concepts of chronology) and evidences Tripp’s lifelong use of layered compositions on transparent papers in order to construct a four-dimensional painting where the readers’ paging of the book within space-time determines the composition of both the images and the text.
The title of the book highlights the practical self-referentiality of Tripp’s aesthetic, both a statement of cultural totality and a sly critique of the same. As with most of Tripp’s artworks (and especially his titles), there is a humorous element of invoking numerous clever and sardonic linguistic associations.
Richard Kostelanetz, the foremost biographer of John Cage, referred to Cage as a “polyartist”. I would use the same term to describe Brian Tripp and note the similarity of both artists’ use of conceptual elements in their musical and visual art compositions. “It’s in the Book” is notably similar the Cage’s “Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel” book, utilizing similar structural strategies in both the use of the deconstruction of language and the form of the codex. “It’s In the Book”, even in its fragmentation, preserves a faded, semi-symmetrical coherence in its language and subject matter. Tripp’s work explicitly states its desire and goal of “Fixing the World” a central belief of the Karuk cosmology in which Tripp’s work is solidly rooted, though he also integrates the tactics of numerous other cultures art practices as informed by his encyclopedic knowledge of numerous art histories.