Edited and with an interview by Lisa Pearson and Richard Kraft
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hardcover, 7.75 × 10.5 in.
100 pages, all color
published in 2017
in Europe? order directly from Le Tampographe
50 Books/50 Covers Award AIGA, 2017
Introducing English-speaking readers to one of the most unusual and original voices in contemporary French culture, The Stampographer traverses the fantastic, anarchic imagination of Parisian artist Vincent Sardon, whose dark, combative sense of humor is infused with Dadaist subversion and Pataphysical play.
Using rubber stamps he designs and manufactures himself, Sardon commandeers a medium often associated with petty and idiotic displays of bureaucratic power, then uses those stamps not to assert authority, but to refuse it. He scours the Parisian landscape as well as the world at large, skewering the power-hungry and the pretentious, reveling in the vulgar and profane.
In The Stampographer, there are insults in multiple languages, sadomasochistic Christmas ornaments, and a miniature Kamasutra with an auto-erotic Jesus. Sardon also wields the stamp as satirical device, deconstructing Warhol portraits into primary colors, turning ink blots into Pollock paint drips, and clarifying just what Yves Klein did with women’s bodies. Yet Sardon’s razor-sharp wit is tinged with the irony of his exquisite sense of beauty. The stamps are rarely static—they have an animating magic, whether boxers are punching faces out of place or dragonflies seemingly hover over the page.
Sardon’s work is provocative in its subject matter as well as in its process and dissemination: he not only stands defiantly outside the art world’s modes of commerce but his artworks (the rubber stamps themselves) are actually the means with which anyone can make a work of their own.
about the author
VINCENT SARDON is a radically independent artist in Paris who makes and sells his work in a little shop and studio near the Père Lachaise cemetery in the eleventh arrondissment. He began his career as political cartoonist for the left-wing Libération then, disillusioned, he set out on his own to make rubber stamps, of which he’s now made hundreds. He has an ardent cult following in France following the illustrious comic book press L’Association publication of Le Tampographe, a four-year journal narrating his artistic life and work, which is now in its third printing. His newest book in France is
Chroniques de la rue du Repos. Check out this video from the BBC and, if you speak French, this interview on RadioFrance. And he’s also, surprisingly, on Instagram.
Its pages produce a kind of alternate bureaucracy, a profane portal dedicated not to renewing your driver’s license but to spreading chaos and fatalism, one inky impression at a time. The book testifies to Sardon’s misery as much as his ingenuity. In an edifying interview at the end, he says, “My work simply reflects the world, which seems to have been created by an absolute moron.
—Dan Piepenbring, The Paris Review
Vincent Sardon’s rubber-stamp artworks, on jolly display in The Stampographer, revive the Dadaist tradition of artful mischief … 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.
—Juliana Halpert, Bookforum
Yes, for the foreseeable future, any ongoing catastrophe metaphor applies: tsunami, fire, mudslide, earthquake, aftershock. Indie publishing is never for the faint-hearted. Now, it requires superpowers. Meanwhile, I have a drugstore umbrella, knee-high wellies and a spade.[...]