With the project Ed Ruscha (and tributes) De Pietri – Artphilein Foundation continues the presentation of punctual sectors of its collection, by focussing this time the attention on the major impact and the persistent influence of Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha (Omaha, Nebraska, 1937) as a particular form of artist’s book.
In 1963, Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha marks an important step in the history of contemporary artists’ books. In his first photo book, the artist presented a series of images of 26 gasoline stations along the Route 66, the 3700 km highway between Chicago and Santa Monica, which crosses the States of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. This book was edited and published by the artist himself, with the aim of achieving a self-reliant work of art accessible by a wider audience.
“I took pictures of different things, mostly gasoline stations, and various kinds of serial imagery that I was more interested in making into books than I was seeing photographs of. I mean the photography was almost incidental to the book. I was looking at them as the book is the product, not the photograph.”
“Somehow gas stations fit into some kind of poetic voyage for me. They have a certified uniqueness to them. I love the pre-fab ones that were done back in the 40’s and 50’s with the overhang and functional look where you could almost drive your car underneath, get out and go into your place. It’s like an extension of something that I really appreciate.” (Ed Ruscha)
The choice of the gasoline stations as the subject of images, the form itself of the book and the number 26, have influenced and inspired many artists, until today. In this project, from the collection of the Artphliein Foundation, is presented the 1969 unsigned and not numbered edition of Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha, together with a selection of artist’s books of the last twenty-five years, where artists draw inspiration and pay a tribute to him. The selection ends up with To E.R. the tribute by Giuseppe Chietera, published by Artphilein Editions in 2014, which includes 26 photographs of abandoned or converted gasoline stations in Ticino (Switzerland)