Publisher: L-13 Light Industrial Workshop
This book is unique - that much is obvious
you even open it. Bound in a metallic cover, it’s heavy, 2kg to be
All the title labels - front, back & spine - are fixed to the
plastic shrink wrap. By the time you’ve gained entry to the book, all
evidence of its contents are gone! Subversion at its finest. Once
inside, if you’re hoping for a list of contents or neat labelling of
the work included, there is none. You are on your own. Zero text. It’s
Jamie has 50 years of radical challenging art
behind him and
this contains his finest, from pre-Sex Pistols situationist and dadaist through
to the druidic which inhabits his more recent pieces. His
early works which would later inform his iconic Sex Pistols
graphics such as Suburban Press covers and ‘keep warm
this winter - make trouble’ motifs are well represented, although much
of his Pistols
work is not presented in the way you might expect. Rather than the
familiar posters, sleeves and so on, here we have original sketches in
pencil & felt tip, cut and pasted flyers, collages, and all manner
of works in progress. Taken directly from Jamie’s own files, many are
beautifully aged by discoloured sticky tape, occasional missing
letters, creases and tears. This raw unprocessed look under the lid is
the real deal, totally authentic and unique, allowing material to be
viewed in a hither-to unseen light.
At the centre of the book lies a
spectacular double fold out collage of some of Jamie’s greatest Sex
Pistols work. However, it’s not just the Pistols that makes this
book so important. Although significant, the Pistols were a pit stop
on a much longer path of rebellion and anti-establishment rhetoric.
Some of the colourful kaleidoscope hippie and spectacular druidic
seem a long way from Jamie’s punk leanings, but in reality, they are
not so far apart and often collide. A number of colourful God Save The
Queen images result, including the striking ‘Damn them all’ painting.
Psychedelia, blackmail lettering, anti-war and ‘peace is tough’
messages become intertwined along the way. ‘Stop demonising our future’
is one of many such crossover triumphs, and is proof, as if it's
needed, that beauty can be found in the most stark of surroundings.
The truth is, Jamie’s punk
heritage is never too far from his thoughts. ‘God Save’ and ‘Fuck
Forever’ recur in various guises throughout the years from
deforestation to bedspreads, and it seems appropriate that the final
two pieces in the book revisit slogans and imagery of yesteryear with
both Putin (with help from Pussy Riot) and Trump the targets.
the art is baffling, some thought provoking, but never dull. The love
of wigwams may fall into the former category, conversely ‘Deep in
Vague - media sickness’, and ‘Beauty is a birthright - reclaim your
heritage’ most definitely get you thinking. Either way, XXXXX will
Perhaps the XXXXX experience can be best summed up
early 70’s piece in which a young couple, relaxing in their modern
suburban home, contemplate a giant skull which lies on the living
floor. “Darling what does it mean? Something we’ve done?” “Oh don’t
worry Cecilia… I’m just pretending it’s not there… funny, I almost like
having it around.” Equal part wonderful and puzzling, it’s an early
scene setter for much that’s to follow.
50 years of Jamie Reid. It does
seem incredible. This is the ultimate book of his work. A story of
revolution, art, and style; a story so visual it can be told across 304
pages without a
single written word. A story without a conclusion.
There’s still a lot of resistance to be had, and Jamie remains at the
Time for magic? XXXXX is spellbinding.
Review by Phil
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