Books On Books Collection – Nicolas Guyot

POÉME: UN COUP DE DÉS JAMAIS N’ABOLIRA LE HASARD par STÉPHANE MALLARMÉ (2019)

Poème: Un coup dés jamais n’abolira le hasard (2019)
Nicolas Guyot
Unique cover with silver bromide printed image on Wenzhou paper mounted on handcrafted canvas; 16 leaves, 11 pages of text with silver bromide printed images on 160 gm drawing paper. Edition of 76, of which this is #16 and signed by the artist.

Detail of front cover © Nicholas Guyot

Details of pages © Nicholas Guyot

Back cover © Nicholas Guyot.

Guyot’s livre d’artiste sits self-assuredly in a long line of works inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé’s seminal 1897 poem Un Coup de Dés. Unlike Ellsworth Kelly (1992) but like Christiane Vielle (1989) and others, Guyot integrates his images with the text. In print technique, his silver bromide echoes the silver gelatine of Ian Wallace (1979), but Guyot’s unique cover prints and hand binding distinguish his work from any other in the long line. His technique and layout evoke a feeling of the late 19th century, the contemporary images respond creatively to the original poem’s own cryptic imagery, and altogether the effect is a simultaneity across time, poet and artist.

Guyot writes that Alain Badiou’s Petit manuel d’inethéstique (Éditions du Seuil, 1998) and Quentin Mellaissoux’s Le nombre et la siréne (Éditions Fayard, 2014) were particularly inspiring for this work (correspondence, 21 April 2020). In addition to the artist’s book, Guyot created several paintings (H39 x W65 cm) inspired by the poem and these philosophical reflections.

Further Reading

Badiou, Alain. Petit manuel d’inesthétique (Éditions du Seuil, 1998). Available in translation: Handbook of Inaesthetics (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006).

Meillassoux, Quentin. Le nombre et la sirène : un déchiffrage du Coup de dés de Mallarmé (Paris: Éditions Fayard, 2014). Available in translation: The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarmé’s Coup de Dés (New York: Sequence Press, 2012).