Letters from Mayhem

This sixty-four-page artist book features twenty-six duotone watercolors by Swedish artist Roger Andersson, each depicting one letter of the alphabet, accompanied by text by poet Albert Mobilio. The book is printed on heavy board in the style of a children's ABC primer. Each letter is embedded in a fairytale setting in which teenage boys lie around, occupying themselves with teenagerly pursuits such as smoking pot and listening to heavy metal. Full of messages hidden within plants, ponds, and clouds, this garden of vices overgrown with weeds and entangled vines forms a strange foil for imagery drawn from drug culture, anarchy, rock music, and children's cartoons. Tempered by soft-edged romantic decadence, the book evokes a nostalgia for both innocence and its loss.

Roger Andersson was born in Linköping, Sweden, in 1966. Recent solo shows of his work have been mounted at Sara Meltzer Gallery in New York and Magnus Karlsson Gallery in Stockholm, and he has been included in  shows at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Malmö Konsthall, and Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Andersson lives in Stockholm.

Albert Mobilio is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and the 1998 National Book Critics Circle award for reviewing. His work has appeared in Harper’s, the Village Voice, Grand Street, Bomb, Tin House, Cabinet, and the New York Times Book Review. His books of poetry include Bendable Siege, The Geographics, and Me with Animal Towering. A book of fiction, The Handbook of Phrenology, was recently published as a limited edition artist’s book (with etchings by Hilary Lorenz). He teaches writing at New York University and is the fiction editor at Bookforum.

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