The Valise, a collective artists’ project, unites seven South American artists—Johanna Calle, Matías Duville, Maria Laet, Mateo López, Nicolás Paris, Rosângela Rennó, and Christian Vinck Henriquez—with the Argentine writer César Aira. The printed edition, published by the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art, presents a selection of artworks responding to the idea of travel and to Aira’s novel Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero (2000), both the original Spanish edition and the English translation, An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter (2006). The novel concerns the surreal story of an 1837 journey through South America by the German painter Johann Moritz Rugendas, an associate of the explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. Designed to fit in a special valise (a carrying case), the works include original prints, maps, artist’s books, airmail envelopes, origami toys, posters, a sound recording, and a hand blown glass sculpture, all reflecting the artists’ shared affinity for geography, travel literature, and book-making.
The Valise is published in a signed edition of 100 copies for the members of the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art. A deluxe edition of 25 copies is available for purchase. (The deluxe edition includes hand-cut paper architecture by López; a second original woodcut print by Duville; a Paris design, hand-painted in metal leaf, on the carrying case; and signatures on many of the individual pieces.) An additional 10 artist copies of each of the two editions go to the artists and other collaborators.