Paul Zelevansky
Visual Studies Workshop Press, New York, 1981, English

From Printed Matter: Book 3 brings to a close Paul Zelevansky's ambitious trilogy, begun in 1981, about the Hegemonians, a desert people who, according to the author, inhabited the Middle East. In detailing their culture and history, Zelevansky looks to literary sources as diverse as the Old Testament, the major myths, Moby Dick, and Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. The compelling graphic imagery is drawn from and/or inspired by an equally eclectic range of sources, including medieval manuscripts, textbooks, found photographs, and hieroglyphics, as well as such cultural artifacts as high-top treads. Unpacking this richly layered material is itself an act of archaeology. The book includes the last sixteen of forty interactive and full-color stamps spread out across the three volumes.

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Warren Lehrer

This modern-day illuminated manuscript is the third in a trilogy of books (published from 1981 to 1991) depicting the known world according to the Hegemonians, a desert people from somewhere in the Middle East. Drawing on a wealth of knowledge—about ancient cultures and literary references from the Old Testament to Moby Dick—writer/artist Paul Zelevansky invents his own mythological people (their history and lore) using rubber stamps, typewriter, hand lettering, drawings, found photography, and a host of invented hieroglyphs. Many of the pages in this book (and the accompanying set of stamps that come with it) stand on their own as works of word/image art, but it is the book in its entirety, and its case for a parallel reality, that I keep coming back to.

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