The most renowned series of artist’s books in the history of the genre, Ed Ruscha’s works still retain their capacity to surprise, delight and puzzle in equal measure. In the several decades since they were published, they have been much exhibited, written about and analyzed, yet they somehow are still objects of mystery and fascination, beguiling in their utter simplicity and immutable rightness. – Parr, M. & Badger, G., The Photobook: A History (Volume II), London: Phaidon, 2006, pp.140-1
Ed Ruscha is an American painter and photographer who uses his art to explore the fluidity of language. His work is often association with Pop Art and beat generation. Yet the originality and diversity of Ruscha’s output means his work defies categorisation. He gained recognition for his innovative use of words and phrases as the subject of his paintings and for the many photographic books he has produced. Ed Ruscha’s training as a graphic designer is evident in his self-conscious use of typography. He plays on words through his use of colour, layout, and font, about which Ruscha said: “I like the idea of a word becoming a picture, almost leaving its body, and then coming back and becoming a word again.” In creating these works Ruscha paints and draws with unusual material such a gunpowder, Pepto Bismol, and even blood. Ed Ruscha’s practice draws attention to the deterioration of language and clichés of pop culture. Through his diverse output he continues to influence artists worldwide as well as questioning and encouraging the altering of the essence of human communication. Born in 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska, Ruscha grew up in Oklahoma City before moving to Los Angeles in 1956, where he still lives today.