In the spring of 2007, in New York, as part of an exhibition organized by the Gavin Brown's Enterprise gallery, Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi produced One Season in Hell, an installation whose point of departure was Arthur Rimbaud's famous extended poem Une saison en enfer. By using Google's online translation app to obtain an English version of the original text, Ken Okiishi first of all appropriated it and peppered it with jokes, puns and references to popular culture, from Karl Lagerfeld to South Park by way of the hairstyles of certain Japanese teenagers and Volvo cars. Nick Mauss, for his part, annotated the text, and then drew on it.
In tandem, the artists then published an eponymous book in which these pages were all brought together, in an edition of 500, which was quickly sold out. From 13 May to 14 August 2011, Nick Mauss presented his very first solo show in an institution at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne. It was in the wake of this exhibition that Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi expressed their wish to re-issue One Season in Hell, whose outcome both offers us a new way of looking at Rimbaud's oeuvre and extends their respective praxes in a remarkable way.
The diverse artistic practice of Nick Mauss (born 1980 in New York, lives and works in New York and Berlin) encompasses drawing, sculpture and performance along with some curatorial projects that he initiated in the last years. Mauss' oeuvre is characterized by a perpetual state of indeterminacy, in a need of thinking about drawing and painting in an expansive sense. His work is a premeditated confusion where definitive shapes and forms are overlooked in favor of ambiguous semblances.
Born 1978 in Ames, Iowa, Ken Okiishi lives and works in New York and Berlin.