Peter Fischli & Hilar Stadler: 147 Backcovers, Summer Fall Winter Spring
Koenig Books, 2018, Softcover, 300 pages, 27 × 27 cm
This artists’ book by Peter Fischli and Hilar Stadler contains a selection of the advertisements that the Zurich-based Galerie Bruno Bischofberger has placed on the back of the American magazine Artforum since 1987. Fischli and Stadler converted issues of Artforum into readymades by mounting them on the wall, with the back covers on display, for an exhibition at the Museum Bellpark Kriens. Within the book, which mimics the magazine format, the advertisements are all printed on a full page to the right, in a way that recalls appropriation art. This picks up on the concept of the advertising series, which had appropriated found – and often clichéd – photographs of Swiss rural and folk culture. The minimalist yet precise design features the advertisements entirely without any captions, comments or even page numbers. Dispensing with the conventional title page, the book proceeds directly with the first example, thus essentially making it resemble a stack of paper. However, an unconventional title page, including information and the colophon, can be found on the rear cover – precisely where the advertisements had originally appeared. The result is a strong statement about the relationship between art and advertising, and between high and popular culture.