# 24979

HENSON, Bill

Principio erat (Artist’s edition B)

$1,800.00 AUD

Paris : Editions Bessard, 2019. Folio, pictorial laminated boards, pp. [70], several double fold-out pages, printed on high quality matt photographic paper.

Principio erat is published in a standard and deluxe edition – described as the ‘Artist’s edition’ by the publisher. The standard edition is published in two variations, each limited to 500 numbered copies. The Artist’s edition is also published in two variations, each limited to 45 copies plus 5 artist proofs. All copies contain a small original signed photograph, and the Artist’s editions each contain an additional larger signed photograph.

Principio erat (standard edition A) has a portrait of a girl’s face on the cover of the binding, and has an original signed Bill Henson photograph 106 x 160 mm (image) housed in a paper envelope inside rear board. The image in Principio erat (standard edition A) is of a girl with her hands above her head.

Principio erat (standard edition B) has an image of a nude girl’s torso on the cover, and has an original signed Bill Henson photograph 106 x 160 mm (image) housed in a paper envelope inside rear board. The image in Principio erat (standard edition B) is of a girl reclining.

Principio erat (Artist’s edition A) is housed in a black lettered fawn clamshell box, and accompanied by an additional larger format original signed Bill Henson photograph of a standing nude girl, 256 x 172 mm (image). The cover of the Principio erat (Artist’s edition A) is the same as the standard edition (A), and also contains the smaller signed photograph of the girl reclining.

Principio erat (Artist’s edition B) is housed in a black lettered red clamshell box, and accompanied by an additional larger format original signed Bill Henson photograph of a falling girl, 172 x 256 mm (image). The cover of the Principio erat (Artist’s edition B) is the same as of Principio erat (standard edition B), and also contains the smaller signed photograph of the girl reclining. This is a copy of Principio erat (Artist’s edition B).

Principio erat is a photobook by Bill Henson, dedicated to his sublime imagery of youths on the cusp of adulthood, the sculptural form of their pale nude bodies set against the monuments of Paris at twilight.

It is accompanied by a page of text Noli me tangere (Do not touch me) written by the publisher Pierre Bessard:

The creature gazes into the openness with all its eyes.
So begins Duino’s Eighth Elegy, by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke.
The openness is a space inhabited by elves, innocents, saints.
Bill Henson perceives this infinity, this openness, in the terrible beauty of his models, inscribed on a black background, as though the shadows could sing. 
His sculptures of flesh are sources of youth, photographs designed to stand the test of time, like Wagner’s operatic masterpieces.
They take with them a romantic breath that is surpasses a call to the sublime, a dazzling solitude in a world turned gruesome.
Among the ruins of the past and the eternal temples of nature come diaphanous beings, pure dreams, inaccessible ghosts.
From afar, they are untouchable.  
They are silent, sacred, intimidating, as if death did not frighten them.
Descendants of the tradition of classical statuary, they have no age. Sovereign and savage, they are deities with rare presence.
Kneaded from clay, they take to flight, far from human suffering.
The night full of desire is their shelter, an invisible glass shield surrounding them. 
Blessed are you born of Orpheus, the severe judge.
Glory to the creative breath, glory to the travelling stars, glory to the new beings, glory to the uninitiated.
Supported by the old parapets, we suffer from being so heavy, while you are wine, vine, arrows and messengers in one.
Oh, pure tension!
Oh, joy that abounds!
Oh, music of the globe!
But if I cry out, who in the orders of the angels will listen to me?

An exquisite photobook by Bill Henson and Pierre Bessard.