Holidays in Hell: Minus Plato’s Instantly Illustrated edition of Apuleius’ “The Golden Ass”

So let me tell you something, faithful Minus Plato readers. I have to confess that I have been debating taking a break from my daily posting on Minus Plato – I recently passed the 100 day mark of daily posts and didn’t want to burn out too soon (there is still so much to attend to and to resist). But then this morning it dawned on me that I knew a way to continue to post every day, while still taking some kind of a holiday. What I would do would be to saddle up Minus Plato to another narrative, one filled with adventure, danger, enjoyment and intrigue and let it ride, seeing where it could lead us. So, over the next eleven days Minus Plato will be posting eleven images of contemporary artists’ work to illustrate each of the eleven books of possibly (but I’m biased) the greatest work of Classical literature: Apuleius’ The Golden Ass (aka the Metamorphoses). This ‘instantly illustrated’ edition (a topsy-turvey twist on my friend, the artist William E. Jones’ practice of ‘automatic illustration’) will be both timely and contemplative, playful and philosophical (like Apuleius’ novel) and even if you have not read his tale of a man’s adventures as an ass, I hope they will sufficiently pique your curiosity to do so. So, without much further ado, who will be first? Who will start us off on our journey? (quis ille?)

Well, let me tell you. It is Italian artist Paola Pivi, with an image of her 2003 work Untitled (Donkey) in situ outside the Hayward Gallery in London during their exhibition Universal Experience: Art, Life and the Tourist’s Eye in 2005. In a review of the exhibition for The Guardian called ‘Holidays in Hell’ Adrian Searle describes the exhibition as trying ‘to show the fun side of travelling. But pain, violence and horror have a habit of sneaking in’. Sounds about right. See you tomorrow for Book 1. lector intende, laetaberis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *