Oslo, Norway. John Holten. Broken Dimanche Press

Posted in art, books, distribution, novel, writing on May 5th, 2015
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After his critically acclaimed debut novel The Readymades, John Holten returns with an intriguing story of love and loss that begins in the affluent and rapidly growing city of Oslo, Norway. It follows the story of William Day, an economic migrant who moves to the city to work as a mechanical engineer before chance thrusts him into the alluring world of Sybille and her artist friend Camille. As they do their best to reconcile growing differences in personality and culture, Camille’s growing influence over Sybille threatens the relationship, before her dangerous friends in the Oslo underworld finally undo William’s search for stability. This sets William – and the reader – in the direction of the novel’s horizon, which is set outside of historical time and space, taking in the history of oil exploration, Norse mythology, coronal mass ejections and post-apocalyptic landscapes.

Written with an emotional honesty, Holten places himself directly in the book as both narrator and first reader, highlighting the discrepancy between any map and the territory it represents. The second book of a project entitled Ragnarok, Oslo Norway is constructed in a unique style and set with a visually arresting layout: a self-styled literary atlas that is a pleasure to hold, it creates a new form for a reading experience in line with how we read online. The story is recounted over thirty nine chapters, each named after various streets and environs of the city of Oslo, followed by a legend that unlocks and provides information from the preceding narrative in a revealing interplay between what is real and what is fiction. Inviting a non-linear reading, Holten has galvanised a new type of literary experience that is open-ended, multi-layered, wholly contemporary.

About John Holten
John Holten is a writer and artist as well as a publisher. Born in 1984 in Ireland, he studied at University College Dublin and the Sorbonne-Paris IV before obtaining an MPhil from Trinity College Dublin. In 2011 John published his first novel The Readymades to great acclaim, and the art group he created in the novel (with Darko Dragicevic), The LGB Group, enjoyed exhibitions in many cities as well as being included in The Armory Show, New York in 2012. Having co-founded Broken Dimanche Press as an international art press in 2009, he has overseen as Editor-In-Chief more than thirty publications and attendant exhibitions, projects and public events.

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Isabel Carvalho / Broken Dimanche Press @ Motto Berlin. 10.12.2013

Posted in art, events on December 7th, 2013
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Tuesday 10.12.2013
From 7pm
Please join Broken Dimanche Press at Motto for a drink to launch a publication by artist Isabel Carvalho

ISABEL CARVALHO
plateau singers merge languages together
Preface by Doval Holt
Design by Nuno da Luz
128 pages, soft cover

Edition 150
ISBN: 978-3-943196-17-7
This publication was published on the occasion of the exhibition with the same title by Isabel Carvalho at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. 22nd Aug – 22nd Sept 2013
The element of air is a propelling agent for movement or change. Carvalho applies this notion metaphorically, aligning the dynamics of wind to the relations/tensions between community and personal subjectivity; and inhalation/exhalation as akin to expression/communication between inner and outer space.
www.brokendimanche.eu

The Readymades. John Holten. Broken Dimanche Press

Posted in art, books, distribution, history, literature, writing on August 31st, 2011
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The Readymades. John Holten. Broken Dimanche Press

John Holten’s debut novel The Readymades uses and abuses a number of literary genres: found texts from the history of modern art, witness testimonies, press releases and the narrative style of art-historical accounts. The novel emerges from one of Félix Fénéon’s infamous three-sentence ‘novels’ – appropriated mini-stories from French newspapers – and from the starting point of Fénéon’s narrative readymade, Holten has extrapolated a whole missing art movement and their contemporary European picaresque saga.

The action begins during October 2008 in Paris, with John, a young Irish publisher, meeting the jaded Serbian artist Djordje Bojić. Bojić tells John about the manuscript he is writing: the history of the LGB Group – an Eastern European neo-avant-garde collective that arose in the turbulent environment of mid-1990s Belgrade, when Bojić and his friends, recently returned from the war in Bosnia, started to produce art in order to escape the hysterical nationalism all around them.

Bojić’s manuscript makes up the final part of the novel. Starting out as an academic attempt to document the LGB Group, the sober attitude of the art-historical account soon collapses, and the narrative gradually turns into a disclosing life-story of violence and existential decay. As the manuscript moves closer to the horrific truths of Bojić’s own war experiences, the testimony gradually fails, becomes full of mute lacunas in order to finally reach the ineffable climax of the testimony: the aphasia of trauma, the dumbness of loss, and the ultimate silence of Bojić’s own death.

By juxtaposing the experience of war, the urge for artistic creation and the act of narrating the past, The Readymades launches a double strategy in which the artistic gesture becomes an attempt to overcome war, while simultaneously forced to partake in it. Because art (at least since the original Dada gesture) has sought its own raison d’être in an ongoing dialectic of defiance, transgression and negation of the status quo, it must inevitably find its own dynamic intrinsically linked to acts of violence. With a unique book design, this mise-en-abyme presents a book-within-a-book that takes the reader on a journey to the darker corners of contemporary European history. In collaboration with the Serbian artist and filmmaker Darko Dragičević, Holten has produced a catalogue of LGB artworks and memorabilia, presented both in the book and in exhibition-spaces throughout Europe this coming autumn. In other words: The Readymades is not just a novel, but also an on-going ‘fictitious event’, pushing against any sedate conception of what the literary novel can achieve today, at once not afraid of today’s ‘reality hunger’, nor the legacy of postmodernism.

340 pp., 32 b&w ill.
18.5 x 13 cm
ISBN: 978-3-00-032627-1

D 18€

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