Kiki Smith, ‘I Love My Love by Helen Adam’, 2009, Arion Press
Kiki Smith, ‘I Love My Love by Helen Adam’, 2009, Arion Press
Kiki Smith, ‘I Love My Love by Helen Adam’, 2009, Arion Press
Kiki Smith, ‘I Love My Love by Helen Adam’, 2009, Arion Press

I Love My Love, a ballad by Scottish-born poet Helen Adam, is based on a traditional Celtic interpretation of the Medusa theme. She was a prominent member of the San Francisco literary scene that profoundly altered the course of American poetry in the 1950s and 1960s. Among the avant-garde she was seen as an anomaly, seemingly old-fashioned, but regarded as a direct link to ancient poetic tradition. In Adam’s unsettling ballad, the bridegroom is first embraced, then ensnared, by his bride’s lavish golden tresses. After he murders her, the hair continues to grow and avenges itself upon the guilty bride-groom, who tried to free himself from the constrictive bonds of love.

Published by Arion Press in San Francisco, the book is bound in concertina format, in an accordion-fold of eighteen panels. Images of the artist’s hair are printed lithographically in three colors, alternately above and below the text, with the hair flowing outward from the left margin of each panel. The result is an artist book that stretches out flat to over twenty feet. It can be displayed on a shelf or table spread out to twelve feet (or less) in the accordion mode. It can also be viewed two pages at a time as in a conventional codex. The artist’s hair has been used to create a graphic parallel to the poetry. The book contains 16 printed panels and two blanks, in concertina format. The paper is Mohawk Superfine cover. The type is Scotch Roman, handset, using 24-point for the text and other sizes for display and subsidiary material, printed by letterpress. The graphic art was printed by photo-offset lithography in tri-tone: brown-black, tan, and yellow-orange inks. The boards and box containing the book are covered in Japanese cloth of an iridescent brown, with gold titling.

Signature: Signed by the artist in the colophon in the back of the book.

About Kiki Smith

Using a multitude of mediums and materials, Kiki Smith’s collections are meditations on life and spirituality, often featuring narratives about origins and endings. For the installation Pilgrim (2007-2010), Smith created nearly 30 panels of black and white stained glass supported by steel frames, each representing a stage in a woman’s life and evoking the stations of a pilgrimage. Smith has worked extensively in glass, from the molded sculpture of entangled spermatozoa in Untitled (1989–1990) to the rose window of the Eldridge Street Synagogue (2010) in New York City’s Lower East Side.

American, b. 1954, Nuremberg, Germany, based in New York, New York

Solo Shows

2018
Haus der Kunst, 
Munich, Germany,
Kiki Smith | Procession
2018
Haus der Kunst, 
Munich, Germany,
Kiki Smith | Procession
View Artist's CV