A CLOSE UP OF A LARGE ROCK, I THINK
Sebastian Stadler’s book produced for the Manor Art Prize St.Gallen is a fascinating labyrinth of enigmatic photos, varying material elements and a complicated construction. The overwhelmingly abstract photographic works, most of which are presented one to a page in differing sizes, employ double exposure to create almost magical presences in the image. The design follows on from the artistic approach to generate more moments of unpredictability. The protective plastic cover, for example, adds an extra level to the title image as with a double exposure. Inside, the paper, which is glossy on one side, is printed sometimes on one side and sometimes on both, while a few pages are uncut, sometimes concealing images and sometimes unprinted, with a hidden table of contents towards the end. On occasion, blank pages next to the photos contain, in a large italic typeface, provisional picture titles that have been generated using image recognition software. Other images are combined with literary citations that, again, were selected using software following an image analysis and matching with a literary archive. It is as if the book were speaking with a mysterious, unlocatable voice. Readers are taken on a quest in which they have little chance of ever feeling they have discovered everything.