Reviving The Dadaist Tradition Of Artful Mischief

Juliana Halpert, Bookforum

reviews, 12/07/17

Vincent Sardon’s rubber-stamp artworks, on jolly display in The Stampographer, revive the Dadaist tradition of artful mischief. Prurient pin-up girls, extravagant swear words, and re-creations of well-known modernist works feature prominently in Sardon’s corruptions of the common bureaucratic tool. The stamps, all hand-made by Sardon in his Paris workshop, create impressions that are either text-based or pictorial. The latter produce Warholian repetitions of naked cowboys, doll heads, and skulls in intricate half-tone patterns, emulating the meshy quality of monochrome images in old magazines and newspapers.

Especially striking are his reproductions of Pop art masterworks: Sardon superimposes three stamps, each as red, blue, or yellow colorplate, to make miniature copies of Warhol’s portraits and Lichtenstein’s tearful women. Their precision is impressive; Marilyn Monroe’s face somehow appears finer—more photogenic even—than in Andy’s iconic silk screens. Sardon delights in holding the power to reproduce pulp-mag images and venerated artworks alike in his own hand.

His textual stamps also impersonate: Unless you look closely, any one of them is indistinguishable from an everyday office supply. But ceci n’est pas un stamp you’d find at your local library. Here, in authoritative block lettering, a stamp may validate sexual achievement (“European Alt-Sex Champion”; “Jedi waterbed master”) or offer slangy insults in many languages (Romanian: “May God break His Dick inside you”; French: “Curate my ass”). If the Dadaists aim was to both offend and enlighten, tearing down the fragile tower of fine-art sensibilities, Sardon has erected his own bawdy bureaucracy in its place and proudly serves as it notary public.

From “Artful  Volumes: Bookforum Contributors on the Season’s Outstanding Art Books”. Originally published in the December 2017 / January 2018 issue of Bookforum.

see also

✼ natalie’s upstate weather report:

April 11, 2024 — The spring peepers have thawed (these little frogs freeze in winter) and now, unabashedly randy, they chirp. At first there was one, then two, and now it sounds like thousands. Two days ago, when it was truly spring, their adamantine chorus was almost deafening (we closed the windows to simply think!). Siglio has relocated to a lush, thriving hollow at the furthest most edge of the Berkshires after two years of peripatetics, sans library—which is now unpacked in a less than Benjaminian manner (little time to contemplate—our urgency in getting books on shelves mirrored the peepers need to mate). The first few months of 2024 were almost unendurable, but we’re home, spring is here, and there are books to made. We are singing!


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