28.03.2018 PWT 13-2018 Back to the Cold War ?

Glavsevmorput’ or the Discrete Charm of Soviet Acronyms

“Glavnoe upravlenie Severnogo morskogo puti”, also known as Glavsevmorput or ГУСМП, was a Soviet government organization in charge of the maritime Northern Sea Route, established in January 1932. “The organization employed 35,000 men scattered all over Arctic, overall management was assigned to the Arctic explorer Otto Schmidt, who had previously managed the Arctic Institute. Glavsevmorput had its own Polar Air service Aviaarktika, headed by Mark Shevelev.Glavsevmorput aimed to contribute to the development of northern coastal Siberia; the office was empowered to establish seaports, conduct extensive research, and trade with the United States and Japan as was necessary to its principal function.

“Joseph Stalin came to power in Russia in 1929. By 1933 his campaign to bolster patriotic morale and to cover up his determined effort to eliminate any dissent was in full swing. Posters, parades, broadcasts and newsreels all focused on the accomplishments of the Stalin socialist state. Perhaps his favorite theme centered on the rapidly evolving aviation sector and the people engaged in new and exciting developments. To this end he flung Russian airplane designers and pilots into the competition to capture flight records. And by 1938 Russia had claimed some 68 records for distance, altitude, and various “firsts.”

One of the more spectacular ones was a 6300-mile polar flight of N025 from Moscow to San Jacinto, California, in early 1937, the precedent to likely ordering that a larger aircraft with crew and cargo replicate that feat.
Access to the pdf: PWT 13-2018 Glavsevmorput

23.03.2018 PWT 12-2018 Thirteen Fragile Original Gelatin Relief Matrices from Galerie Contemporaine

“Portraits were printed in woodburytype, a fully continuous tone photomechanical process using carbon black, superbly stable from light fading. This process required negative lead matrices, filled with hot, gelatin-based, pigmented ink. A goodquality india ink was used to produce black images. Woodburytype images were also printed in dark-brown, brown, or purple-brown colors resembling gold-toned albumen photographs in which black was mixed with red pigments” (cf. Stulik& Kaplan, Woodburytype, CCI).

The lead mold, the negative matrix needed a positive matrix: a gelatin relief matrix like those. A high-power hydraulic press was used to press the gelatin matrix into some smooth, perfectly leveled plate of lead, forming then one, two, three negative lead matrices (molds). After a solution of gelatin, albumen, sugar, and ammonium dichromate was dried, it was exposed to sunlight under a glass negative of Nadar or Carjat.

Continuer la lecture de « 23.03.2018 PWT 12-2018 Thirteen Fragile Original Gelatin Relief Matrices from Galerie Contemporaine »


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A partir de 1923, Drtikol s’éloigne progressivement des écoles pictorialiste et symboliste pour se rapprocher de manière très personnelle des mouvements d’avant-garde, cubisme , futurisme et expressionnisme. Dans ses œuvres datées de sa grande période 1923-1929, souvent des tirages pigmentaires très soignés, on observe l’importance de la modulation de la lumière, des détails qui accentue la beauté des formes élémentaires. Drtikol favorise les poses dynamiques en utilisant des plans serrés, ou en créant l’illusion de mouvement dans un certain nombre de modifications de détail, en ajoutant à la composition des accessoires impressionnants, des tiges cylindriques, en créant des ombres profondes projetées sur les arrière-plans.

En même temps, il accentue le dynamisme par la confrontation des corps aux formes arrondies avec des escaliers de formes acérées, dalles, blocs et autres décorations géométriques. Alors que précédemment Drtikol a photographié les femmes comme des figures littéraires symboliques, maintenant dans ses films, danseurs et gymnastes célèbrent l’idéal antique de la santé physique et la beauté transcendée.Encore plus importante est la place laissée dans son œuvre à la dimension érotique. La plupart de ses nombreux modèles ont vu leur charme résister à toutes les transformations du goût contemporain depuis huit décennies. Cependant, pour Drtikol, la photographie était avant tout un manifeste, un moyen d’affichage symbolique des questions philosophiques, religieuses et psychologiques qui lui semblaient fondamentales.Bien que dans les années 1920, il ait connu une renommée internationale, son travail est resté plus tard oublié pendant l’occupation allemande de l’europe germanique puis le long hiver des démocraties populaires qui suivit.Avant d’entrer au panthéon de l’histoire de la photographie.

PWT 11bis-2018 Drtikol

Catalogue online with Drouot Digital :




Two thousand years of impressions

Two thousand years of paper, two thousand years of impressions, two thousand years of destruction, with two main processes: the paper can move to the text (Eastern tradition) or the text can move to the paper (Western tradition).

In China, the stone or the block (matrix) is fixed firmly on a table. The printer takes a round horsehair inking brush and applies ink with a vertical motion. The paper is then laid on the block and rubbed with a long narrow pad to transfer the impression to the paper. The paper is peeled off and set to dry. Because of the rubbing process, printing is only done on one side of the paper. Further reading on Wikipedia related articles and access to a video with this link:


Weekly transmission 11-2018 presents:

Before paper, 2566 BC: earliest extant papyrus, the Diary of Merer

Before paper, c. 300 BC: bamboo slips, the Book of Laozi

Two thousand years ago, invention of paper in China

175 AD: carved stone books and earliest paper and ink-rubbings

690 AD: did Wu Zetian commission 100,000 printed scrolls ?

July 751 AD: The Battle of Talas near Samarkand, a key event in the history of paper

764 AD: the Empress Kōken commissioned 1,000,000 small printed scrolls

1139 AD : the earliest extant book printed with wooden movable type

July 1377: the earliest extant book printed with movable metal type

March 1455: promotion of the Gutenberg Bible in Frankfurt

1640: the earliest extant book printed in British North America.

1725, the printing of the Chinese Imperial Encyclopaedia

WANG XUE-ZHANG (b. 1953). Three traditional ink rubbings of Luoyang carved inscriptions

Post-scritum by Theophile Bouchet: “A Westerner facing Chinese culture”

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9.03.2018 PWT 10-2018 Toulouse Lautrec l’Oripeau

“Un tout petit forgeron à binocle”

“Lautrec, having read Poil de Carotte (Carrot Head), asked Tristan Bernard to let him meet the author, Jules Renard. Their first interview took place November 26, 1894 (Journal of J. Renard): “A very small blacksmith with binocle; a small double compartment bag; thick lips, and hands like those he draws with spreading and bony fingers, inches in a semicircle … It hurts first, by the smallness, then he is very alive, very nice, with grunts that separates his sentences and raises his lips, like the wind raises the bulges of a door. ”

Early in 1895, Lautrec researched a fox’s head to compose an ornate letter for an article of his friend in the Revue Blanche. It was Lautrec who proposed to Renard (1895) to illustrate a dozen of his Histoires naturelles, and to sell 100 copies at 25 francs each; the edition will be made by Floury in 1899, it will not be successful…” (Jean Adhémar, Toulouse-Lautrec 1951 BN exhibition catalogue)

PWT 10-2018 Toulouse-Lautrec l’Oripeau

photomontage supervised by Jean Adhemar, 1951, glass plate, 120×90 mm



Ashes and Bones Stories: Martin Bormann’s copy of Palafox and Mendoza

We may be close to a big burning of books. Not by order of a single decision maker fanatic of the Qin Emperor exemplary orders of 213 BCA or another Great Leader a few centuries later. Just a general indifference with a multiplication of governemental bands listing books as outlaw, lists issued by technocratic bureaucraties, all impatient to get rid of thousands of librarians and optimize thousands of buildings.

Let’s pick one small volume, in a strict and severe binding, probably designed by Reichsleiter Martin Bormann. The text is a rather boring German translation of Palafox and Mendoza 1650s texts against the jesuits, printed in Gothic alphabet in 1773, the year of general bannisment of the Jesuits.

The property stamp deserves our attention as the heir of Hitler could have been interested in the administration of Latin America native people, he is said to have chosen the Paraguaian missions as a post apocalyptic heaven.

This small volume, difficult to read, brings our attention to contemplate three centurie: Spain and Mexico in mid 17th, the World in 1773 and the World abter the Fall oftheReich, 1945. Last point, ironically, Martin Bormann is the decision-maker who banished the use of gothic characters in German countries.

PWT 09-2018 Ashes and Bones