The Penguin prints series (2001-) is Harland Miller’s most famous series of works and marks a watershed moment in his career. Stumbling across a box of second-hand Penguin books near the Notre Dame, he was inspired to authentically recreate the well-known format of their dust jackets, replacing their original titles with his invented satirical, witty and sometimes controversial texts such as Incurable Romantic Seeks Dirty Filthy Whore Now and Death What's In It For Me?. He usually features himself as the author or in some unique cases other iconic writers such as Charles Bukowski or Ernest Hemingway.
The Penguin series is emblematic of Miller’s artistic language. It marries his influences from Abstract Expressionism and Colour Field Art and artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Mark Rothko, Pop Art and figures like Ed Ruscha, as well Miller’s dark, quintessentially British humour and love for language and literature. The series is a fascinating exploration of the relationship between reality and representation. Miller manipulates the viewer’s perception of the text and its meaning through how it’s displayed in terms of colour and the familiar Penguin book format. The photorealistic, rugged rendering of the original adds a sense of three-dimensionality to the prints, along with the visceral nostalgia and intimacy evoked by a precious second-hand book.