Apparitions: Frottages and Rubbings from 1860 to Now

by: Allegra Pesenti

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Apparitions: Frottages and Rubbings from 1860 to Now / ISBN 9780300214697 / Discounted but like new / large 132-page hardcover, 9.8 x 12.4 inches, from The Menil Collection

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This fascinating publication sheds light on a medium that combines the qualities of drawing with those of sculpture, printmaking, and painting, and is the first to focus exclusively on the art technique known as frottage, derived from the French word frotter, meaning “to rub.” Over 100 pieces, ranging from contemporary conceptual works to rubbings recording tombs and inscriptions, are assembled and sumptuously reproduced in color. More than 50 artists--including the famous, like Max Ernst, inventor of the term “frottage," and the relatively unknown--are presented. Four thematic sections explore different aspects of frottage: its roots in Surrealism and the practice of automatic drawing; the notion of trace, of either a place or an idea left behind in a rubbing; the “apparitions” or ghostlike attributes that can appear on the surface of an artwork; and the associations between rubbings, death, and memory.

Allegra Pesenti is a drawings specialist and curator at large for the Menil Drawing Institute, The Menil Collection.