Charles Ginnever ~ Vermont

Share this page: "Charles Ginnever was born in San Mateo, CA in 1931. He is best known for his large scale open form works for the outdoors. The first of these was started in 1958 with abandoned railroad ties and structural steel. The result was a deconstruction of prevailing sculptural spatial concepts that has continued to the present."


Introduction by John Yau
"In a Bamboo Gove" by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Translation by Jay Rubin
Etchings by Charles Ginnever
United States: Published unstated, [2014]. Edition of 60: 40 Arabic numbered, 5 PP, 5 ARP, 10 deluxe.

16 x 12"; 40 pages unpaginated. Etchings printed by the fellows of the Landfall Institute of the Graphic Arts, Landfall Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Layout, letterpress printing, and binding designed and executed by Lawrence G. Van Velzer and Peggy Gotthold at Foolscap Press. Text printed in Gill Sans Light with Bauhaus type for the titles. Printed on Bugra paper. Bound in black bookcloth using a Japanese binding structure. Japanese stab binding with black cloth-covered boards. In a four-flap black cloth-covered box lined in red papers that match the pastedowns of the book. Numbered. Signed by Ginnever, Rubin, and Yau.

Deluxe version includes a "Rashomon" maquette laid in a compartment built into the box.

Colophon: "RASHOMON is a limited-edition artist's book that includes the re-told story In a Bamboo Grove by Ryunosuke Akutagawa based on a twelfth-century Japanese tale, eleven original etchings by Charles Ginnever, and an Introduction by poet and art critic John Yau.

"Akutagawa's short story 'In a Bamboo Grove' was originally published in the January 1922 edition of the Japanese literature monthly Shincho. 'In a Bamboo Grove' was among a collection of stories by Akutagawa translated by Jay Rubin that was published under the title Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories in 2006 by Penguin Books, New York.

"Rashomon is titled after a 1950 film by Akira Kurosawa, which weaves together two stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. According to film critic Stanley Kauffman, Kurosawa often used multiple cameras to film a scene, splicing them together so that the point of view is constantly shifting among the four witnesses to a rape and murder; each tells his or her version of the events. The stories are mutually contradictory.

"Thomas Ingmire and Akiho Sugiyama created the Japanese calligraphy that identifies the characters giving their testimonies or confessions."

John Yau, Introduction: "Rashomon is the collective title Charles Ginnever has given to three related groups of works: an innovative suite of fifteen identical sculptures – open structure of joined and angled steel planes that stand fifteen feet high – each of which can be rotated into a different position; a group of three-foot high maquettes for the identical sculptures, which are individually marked, so that those who exhibit them will know exactly the position each is to be faced in; a set of eleven etchings, each depicting a potential position in which he sculpture can be placed.

"Ginnever's inspiration for titling these works is the highly acclaimed, award-winning film, Rashomon (1950), directed by the postwar Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa. Based on two short stories by the modernist master, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, "Rashomon" and "In a Bamboo Grove," the title refers to the immense city gate of Kyoto, where, in the film's opening scene, a woodcutter and a priest are huddled, trying to stay dry during a torrential downpour….."

Kurosawa's focus on shifting points of view that challenges the notion of one set and "true" narrative is echoed in Ginnever's challenge to the notion that sculptors should make a form whose placement is fixed. s.
$ 4,500 Standard
$12,500 Deluxe (with maquette)

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Page last update: 05.21.17


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