Salvation is a previously-unpublished artist book by Jimmy DeSana that he conceptualized shortly before his death in 1990. The publication contains 44 of the artist’s late photographic abstractions that quietly and poetically meditate on loss, death, and nothingness. Depicted within the works are images of relics, body parts, flowers, and fruits that DeSana altered using collage and darkroom manipulations to create pictures that are both intimate and other-worldly. Salvation provides a nuanced and sophisticated counterpoint to the prevailing work around HIV/AIDS at the time, which tended to favor bold political statements.

Variations of many of the works in this book were first presented at DeSana’s last show with Pat Hearn Gallery in 1988. Shortly thereafter, the artist began assembling a maquette of Salvation, using black and white images as place holders for the color works that he intended to comprise the final layout of the publication. Sadly, he was unable to fully realize Salvation in his lifetime, but on his deathbed, he dictated instructions to his longtime friend Laurie Simmons for completing the work; instructions which she noted on each page of the single-copy maquette. With these notes, Simmons was able to match extant slides  and sequencing. Simmons’ studio chose color gels from DeSana’s archive for each corresponding black and white image in the assembly of the publication. Thankfully, due to this recuperative work, Salvation—long-considered to be DeSana’s last major work—is now available for the first time, with every step taken to honor and embody DeSana’s original vision. [publishers’ note]

Published by Primary Information, 2024
Design by Rick Myers
Artists' Books / Documents / Photography

Price: 20€

DESANA, Jimmy; HOFF, James (ed.); LAURIE SIMMONS STUDIO (ed.) - Salvation