Party – Cristina De Middel

Cristina De Middel


Archive of Modern Conflict

£42 / 360pp

March 2014

ISBN: 9788415118671

After the huge success of her Deutsche Börse-nominated first book, The Afronauts, and a somewhat ignored second book with Self Publish, Be Happy it was always going to be intriguing to watch Cristina De Middel tackle the “difficult third album”. Now collaborating with The Archive of Modern Conflict, De Middel has ambitiously adapted one of the most widely published books in history: Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, commonly referred to as the Little Red Book. Smaller than A6 and containing images that are only 9 cm in height, De Middel’s design results in an intimate viewing experience. The original quotations of Mao have been largely bleached out, leaving a scattering of choice words on each page from which we are free to derive new meanings, in conjunction with De Middel’s photographs from her time spent in China. The book is deliberately abstruse in places and whilst the images are always set against a doctored quote, some could argue that they are rich enough in content to have occasionally functioned as single entities, providing respite from the continuous cross referencing otherwise required. That said, some spreads are certainly denser than others, and slices of irreverence and humour help to lighten the load.

Reviewed by James D. Clark
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