Bern, Switzerland: E.W. Kornfeld, 1964. Folio. 29 x 41cm. Sheets loose as issued in original silkscreened chemise, dust-jacket and purple-mauve cloth slipcase. One of 2000 numbered copies. This copy lacking the prints by Francis, Warhol, Rauschenberg , Wesselmann, Lichtenstein; one of two by Ramos and Indiana are present....
Walasse Ting (1929–2010) was a Chinese-American visual artist and poet. Born in Shanghai, he left China in 1946 and lived in the British colony of Hong Kong for six years before settling in Paris where he anglicized his Chinese name, tacking on “sse” in emulation of the famed painter Henri Matisse. In Paris, Ting became associated with the CoBrA group whose expressionist style of painting was inspired by the art of children. In 1957, bolstered by newfound success as a painter, he relocated to the United States and settled in New York City.
In 1961, while living in a one-room studio near Times Square, Ting wrote a series of sixty-one poems. These poems communicate the wide-eyed ambition of a recent immigrant. They are simultaneously spiritual and secular, jarring and joyful. His use of free form text references both the tone and metrical patterns of classical Chinese poetry and the rhythm of the American Beat prose, Jazz music, and the urban environment. Each page radiates with a breathless immediacy that exudes a sense of the vital dynamism of New York City in the early 1960s as Ting was experiencing it.
I wrote 61 poems in ’61 in a small black room like coffin, inside room only salami, whisky…photographs from Times Square …no cookbook, no telephone book, no check-book. Two short fingers, typing talking about World & Garbage, You & I, Egg & Earth. - Walasse Ting
The portfolio reflects Ting’s desire to capture the zeitgeist of a creative community caught between European abstraction and Pop Art, specifically those artists who, like Ting, bridged both the European and American avant-garde movements. Containing sixty-two lithographs by twenty-eight artists, reproductions of French, Japanese, and American advertisements, postage stamps, photographs, Chinese seals, and sixty-one letterpress poems by Ting set in multicolored inks, the portfolio was edited by Sam Francis and printed in Paris by Maurice Beudet with typography by George Girard. Item #51-5508