Journal of Grievances Vol. 3: Fool’s Paradise
Hardcover, 216 mm x 267mm, 88 pages
The notion of collaboration seems to be defining the new era of pandemic-created works. Or perhaps to be more precise: co-activated artistic initiatives on distance. One example of a one-of-a-kind artistic outcome can be considered the third volume of the ‘Journal of Grievances’ – Fool’s Paradise. This group publication showcases works of photographers of all experience levels and is based on a theme defining the work of a guest artist which in this case was Michal Chelbin (b. 1974).
Chelbin is an Israeli-based photographer whose work is recognized for her piercing portraits gathered from her journeys in Ukraine, Russia and Spain, amongst others. Her photographs are intimate and mythical where her choice of subjects is always on the verge of odd and ordinary. This glimpse into both odd and ordinary worlds has become the brief of the open call to select works for Fool’s Paradise. As stated on the website of Antics Publications, they were on the search for “the landscapes bending the tangible and the illusory. Quotidian scenarios resembling dreamlike aesthetics.” The final result is a carefully edited journal featuring the work of 28 international artists who interpreted the theme in their own way.
The title, Fool’s Paradise is both a state of happiness and denial; daydreaming while being unaware that the world is on fire. What could be a better theme outlining the times we currently live in? We are all drowning in thoughts about what will the future hold for us and sometimes, there is a need to escape. To mentally disappear and reach destinations that go beyond our understanding. A small source of happiness in the sea of worry. Naïve as it may be, we all tend to do it, and probably even more when the pandemic hit us.
Flipping the pages, a sense of nostalgia comes to the surface – a longing for what has been in contrast to what is now. It provides space to detach our thoughts from the real without feeling guilty. The combination of documentary and staged photographs forms an arbitrary narrative, just as if one was in a dream. Be it a burning car in the middle of nowhere or a monkey in a suit hugging a child on a tiny bed, it is easy to get lost. A quote from ‘The Poetics of Reverie’ (1960) written by the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard comes to mind: “reverie is not a mind vacuum. It is rather the gift of an hour which knows the plenitude of the soul.”
Journal of Grievances is a biannual book published by Antics Publications – a publishing house that was founded in 2018 and is based in Brooklyn, New York and Bogota, Colombia. It was co-founded by Mateo Ruiz and Pablo Mejia. With their main focus on the medium of photography, they strive to balance the exposure of both well-established and emerging artists in order to create a supportive artistic community.
The current open call for the Volume 4 is now open, you can submit your images here until the 20th of April. The brief is: “Collected Tales” and the invited artist is Judith Black accompanied by joint curator Jenia Fridlyand from Image Threads.