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Paul Chan. New New Testament

Paul Chan. New New Testament
© Photography: Matthieu Lavanchy, London

Paul Chan. New New Testament
© Photography: Simon Schmid / NL, Bern

Paul Chan. New New Testament
© Photography: Simon Schmid / NL, Bern

Editor:
Paul Chan, New York

Design:
Kloepfer-Ramsey Studio, New York

Printing:
Schwabe AG Druckerei, Muttenz

Publisher:
Laurenz Foundation, Schaulager, Basel; Badlands Unlimited, New York

ISBN:
978-3-95239-715-2

This heavy, leather-bound book on Paul Chan’s Volumes series of artworks has the outward appearance of a bible or book of statutes, while inside it looks mysterious or even confusing. The 1,005 works illustrated consist of one volume each from which all of the pages were torn out before Chan decorated their covers with small, mostly abstract or monochrome ‘paintings’. The illustrations are all set on the right-hand page and are contrasted on the left with short cryptic texts by Chan with numerous gaps and special characters that make them seem at times like concrete poetry and at others like text puzzles or decomposing text fragments. The content thus undermines the printed book’s traditional claim to authority in several ways, while the publication still cultivates that claim in a purely external way ─ through its classic design, size and masterly manufacture in a centuries-old Swiss printing house. The result is a ‘testament’ to book culture in the digital age, and it is not incidental that it is also available as an e-book from Paul Chan’s publishing house, Badlands Unlimited.

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