The Artists’ Prison looks askance at the workings of personality and privilege, sexuality, authority, and artifice in the art world. Imagined through the heavily redacted testimony of the prison’s warden, written by Alexandra Grant, and powerfully allusive images by Eve Wood, the prison is a brutal, Kafkaesque landscape where creativity can be a criminal offence and sentences range from the allegorical to the downright absurd.
In The Artists’ Prison, the act of creating becomes a strangely erotic condemnation, as well as a means of punishment and transformation. It is in these very transformations—sometimes dubious, sometimes oddly sentimental—that the book’s critical edge is sharpest. In structural terms, The Artists’ Prison represents a unique visual and literary intersection, in which Wood’s drawings open spaces of potential meaning in Grant’s text, and the text, in turn, acts as a framework in which the images can resonate and intensify in significance.
Artist Alexandra Grant, actor and writer Keanu Reeves, designer Jessica Fleischmann, and editor Florence Grant have teamed up to create X Artists’ Books, a small press focusing on artists’ books and collaborations. This year will see the release of XAB’s first four books.
Eve Wood is a visual artist, poet, and critic whose drawings and paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries such as Susanne Vielmetter, Western Project, and Ochi Projects.