Over the course of his thirty-five year career, Christopher Williams has produced photographs that engage the conventions of photojournalism, picture archives, and commercial imagery—often through a wry combination of parody and homage—and explore their sociopolitical contexts and implications. Using the process of reproduction as a point of entry, the artist questions the communication mechanisms and aesthetic conventions that influence our understanding of reality.
Printed in Germany is the second volume in an ambitious series of books developed by Williams in conjunction with his first major museum survey, The Production Line of Happiness, a critically acclaimed exhibition co-organized for 2014-2015 by The Art Institute of Chicago with The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Whitechapel Gallery, London. Following the first publication, an exhibition catalogue that relied more heavily on text than image, Printed in Germany was conceived to exist as a stand-alone visual object and extend the artist’s conceptual and aesthetic concerns into book form. A perfect companion to the first publication, it reproduces a carefully curated selection of Williams’s painstakingly constructed photographs and features striking graphic design in the near-complete absence of language, with no essay, captions, or even a title page. Through clever manipulations of cropping, ordering, and pagination, Printed in Germany offers readers an original aesthetic experience and comprehensive insight into the practice of one of today’s most thought-provoking artists, while—through pure visual splendor—pushing the boundaries of the artist’s book into new realms. As with all publications in the series, it has been produced in three colors—yellow, red, and green—each of which features subtle differences in layout.
A third publication in the series—slated for 2015—will include installation photographs from all three presentations of The Production Line of Happiness, essays related to exhibition symposiums, and full captions for all of the images included in Printed in Germany.