This book — Clairvoyant — is the result of cooperation across vast distances that I am tempted to call miraculous, were it not for the consummate craftsmanship of all those responsible for it. Roman Kames, in Paris, is both an artist and book designer. He teaches art to students in Ladakh, and brings its elemental scenes of sun, moon, and mountain to canvas and paper. His dedication to this publication ensured that the printing, by imprimerie Daniel in Prague, would be done with the utmost fidelity to the original photogravures. Roman Kames’ design of the book is elegant and simple, a portfolio format with 200-gram Tintoretto paper that gracefully sets off the artwork.
Marie Parra-Aledo, who lives and works in Avignon, is a true philosophe, thoroughly versed in art-history, in the culture of Japan where she worked for six years, and in the deep connections between the arts and life. I first noticed her writing in a French magazine brought to me by friends in Japan, and immediately knew that she would be the ideal person to write the Introduction to this book. I confirmed this later when we met, and in every subsequent meeting. I, and more importantly my readers, are most fortunate to have this essay of hers.
She writes that engraving, making a mark on paper or on the ground, inscribes memory itself, linking the earliest gestures with our thoughts today:
Aussi loin que nous transporte notre mémoire vers les premiers gestes d’art, dans les temps les plus reculés de notre histoire d’hommes et donc de createurs, nous rencontrons les actes immemoriaux qui modelèrent la matière pour pérenniser la mémoire, avant la maitrise de la couleur et de la representation de la forme, que probablement les sillons pénétrant la matière révélèrent à travers un relief ou une transparence. Graver, marquer la matière pour inscrire la mémoire.
Marie Parra-Aledo notes also how the engraved print merges with the scene that inspired it, realizing our dreams in romantic visions that evoke rather than represent the mystery of our existence:
Mais ici, loin de ces fonctions de répresentation, l’objet artistique est une vision romantique de la vie qui nous transpose dans le monde mystérieux de la reverie humaine, en osmose avec l’espace et le paysage naturels.
About Jean-Yves Couteau, Conseiller Général d’Indre-et-Loire, a mutual friend observed ‘Il aime les gens‘. ‘He likes people’ — one can hardly think of a better qualification for public office. And indeed he brings a great joie de vivre to his numerous official duties, which in the course of a day might include introducing me at the vernissage of my exhibit, performing several weddings, meeting with foreign diplomats, and working out a budgetary consensus in the Département. Public officials and visitors alike considered it perfectly natural that an American artist living in Japan would exhibit photogravure etchings in the Touraine, such is the international culture of the region. M Couteau’s preface to the book is as gracious as his remarks at the vernissage.
So this book, Clairvoyant, is a monument to the superb contributions of Roman Kames, imprimerie Daniel, Marie Parra-Aledo, and Jean-Yves Couteau, as well as being a beautifully printed collection of 14 of the photogravures from the exhibit.
22 x 22 cm, 20 pages, ISBN: 978-2-908120-25-7.
Clairvoyant can be ordered online at http://kamprint.com/clairvoy.html where the 14 photogravures included in the book may be viewed.