Five Poems is rooted in Greg Colson’s fascination with everyday social systems and patterns, particularly with our cultural obsession with efficiency, data, and analysis of every kind. His constructions, built from a jarring mix of material and conceptual elements – painting, collage, found objects, language, and typography as well as popular beliefs and cultural habits – transform the poetry, humor, and hazards in our social patterns into something both visible and thinkable. Five Poems draws its visual content from the wealth of Colson’s work over the span of his career, but with a twist:
The backbone of this five-part artist book is a collection of poems created from popular catch phrases and slogans that course through our everyday lives. Combining each poem with images of his constructions and preliminary sketches, Colson spins an inexhaustible network of potential visual and cultural connections.
Just in the time it has taken to develop the project at Little Steidl, the artist’s own insights about the potential meanings of the work have evolved with current events. Intentionally elastic and dynamic, the book stands open to a reader’s evolving interpretations and associations. At the same time, Five Poems presents a deep view into Colson’s interests and work processes over a period of more than three decades, with particular emphasis on his long-term interests in intersections, maps, pie charts, and ranking systems.
Five Poems is presented as five large-format, softcover books that are folded and stitched by hand. This labor intensive binding method allows the books to open flat and the images to extend precisely over the center fold without loss of detail. In this way we can reproduce the visual works at a scale that ensures that their rich details, which encompass extensive text elements, are legible and play a full role in the poetic structure of the work.
Artist book / an original work for print
Five hand-stitched softcover books in a sleeve:
Just for Show
Laundry in the Eye
The Cavitron 3000
Page dimensions of each book: 28.7 x 36.0cm (11.25 x 14.25 in.)
144 pages in total
65 color images in total
Text in English
First edition: 1200 copies
Materials: book paper is GardaPat 1,3 Bianka 150 gsm, an acid-free, wood-free, coated paper that is made without optical brighteners.
Printing: books are printed on Little Steidl’s Roland 200 offset-lithographic press using a four-color process.
Binding: books are folded and stitched by hand in Little Steidl’s workshop in Göttingen.
Concept and work: Greg Colson
Project development: Jerry Sohn/Little Steidl
Book design: Nina Holland and Greg Colson
Scans, color correction, and separations: Nina Holland/Little Steidl
Printing: Nina Holland/Little Steidl
Binding: Nina Holland/Little Steidl
Little Steidl, 2018
Available: Fall 2018/Winter 2019
About the Artist
The Los Angeles-based artist Greg Colson was born in Seattle, Washington in 1956 and grew up in Bakersfield, California. His work is in many public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.; the Moderna Museet in Stockholm; the Panza Collection in Varese, Italy; the Sammlung Rosenkranz in Berlin; and the Thomas Ammann Collection in Zürich. His work has been the subject of exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe, including at Konrad Fischer Galerie in Düsseldorf, Sperone Westwater in New York, and Kunsthalle Lophem in Bruges.