Tempting Fate by Swimming Alone

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Witte de With Publishers proudly present the first monographic publication devoted to the work of British performance artist William Hunt (b. 1977), produced on the occasion of his solo exhibition at Witte de With, curated by Belinda Hak and Nicolaus Schafhausen.

Rather than separated pages, the book cover holds a folded paper that, on one side, reproduces a performatively made silk-screen of the artist’s body and, on the other, a compilation of texts by critic Sally O’Reilly, alongside production stills of said silk-screen. Collectively titled “A Litany of Stoppages”, her selection of texts by novelists, philosophers, journalists and humorists offer insights into Hunt’s far-reaching encounters with the romantic image of the artist, performance anxiety and our cultural fascinations with physical duress.

As O’Reilly writes in her introduction: “Just as Hunt constructs actions and situations in which materials and causality appear to work against the ultimate goal, these indirect and glancing narratives and descriptions tug in all directions too. What results, however, is a sense of the universe of binds and double binds, the pitfalls and victories, the bravura and pathos of the performer.”