Kiki Smith: Prints, Books, and Things

Book of twenty photolithographs on handmade Nepalese paper with collaged photolithographed text on machine made paper; and two photogravures with handmade Japanese paper overlay on front and back covers  
 Page: 20 1/2 x 19 1/2" (52.1 x 49.5 cm)  
 Publisher and printer: Universal Limited Edition. West Islip, New York  
 Edition: 40  
 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Emily Fisher Landau, 1997  
 ©Kiki Smith

Kiki Smith. Endocrinology. 1997

Artist's book, offset printed, and one aquatint, page (.1, each): 8 7/8 x 9" (22.5 x 22.9 cm); composition (.2, irreg.): 8 7/16 × 5 1/16" (21.4 × 12.9 cm); sheet (.2): 8 5/8 × 8 9/16" (21.9 × 21.7 cm). Gift of Dan Redmon. © 2018 Kiki Smith

NARRATOR: In the case of this illustrated book, called Endocrinology, artist Kiki Smith says collaboration was key, as it is in all of her printmaking.

KIKI SMITH: Well, what interested me in that was Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, who is a wonderful poet. And she invited me that maybe we could make something together. And so it was just the vehicle for us, getting to know one another and becoming friends.

It did take forever. But I don't think you can see that. But it took a long enough time that we became friends. And so to me that was the best thing that could come out a collaboration. Lots of time, work is just a byproduct of an activity. It exists in the process and not in the outcome. You know, the outcome is like a residue or something like that.

NARRATOR: The text here is by poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. The images are by Smith, using a simple printing technique.

KIKI SMITH: You know, I was trying to make rudimentary prints: cutting out a piece of paper, inking it and printing it onto another piece of paper, like a very simple mono print; it uses like the simplest method, most direct method of printmaking.

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