|Subject:||Visual Arts||Publisher:||New York Review Books|
|Published:||May 8th 2018||Pages:||70|
A pictoral essay by the great art critic, novelist and long-time smoker, John Berger, and Turkish writer and illustrator Selçuk Demirel.
"Once upon a time, men, women and (secretly) children smoked."
This charming illustrated work reflects on the cultural implications of smoking, and suggests, through a series of brilliantly inventive illustrations, that society's attitude to smoke is both paradoxical and intolerant. It portrays a world in which smokers, banished from public places, must encounter one another as outlaws. Meanwhile, car exhausts and factory chimneys continue to pollute the atmosphere. Smoke is a beautifully illustrated prose poem that lingers in the mind.
"A cigarette is a breathing space. It makes a parenthesis. The time of a cigarette is a parenthesis, and if it is shared you are both in that parenthesis. It's like a proscenium arch for a dialogue." - John Berger (in interview)
John Berger (1926-2017), storyteller, essayist, screenwriter, dramatist and critic, was one of the most internationally influential writers of the last fifty years. His many books include Ways of Seeing (1972), the Booker prize-winning novel G (1972), Here is Where We Meet (2005), From A to X (2008), Cataract (with Selçuk Demirel) (2012) and most recently Confabulations (2016). He died in January 2017.
Selçuk Demirel was born in Artvin, Turkey, in 1954. He trained as an architect and moved to Paris in 1978, where he still lives. His illustrations and books have appeared in many prominent European and American publications. Demirel's work ranges from book illustrations, magazine covers, children's books, and from postcards to posters.