HarlandMiller_IncurableRomanticSeeksDirtyFilthyWhore

Incurable Romantic Seeks Dirty Filthy Whore Harland Miller

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Incurable Romantic Seeks Dirty Filthy Whore Now is a collection of print formats which are excellent examples of Miller’s biting and satirical sense of humour which has come to characterise his entire oeuvre. Miller’s humour is most evident in the Penguin series, which the artist is best known for. In this series, Miller adapts dust jackets of Penguin books, transforming the covers by creating his own, often ironic, titles for the books. This practice stems from his time wandering around second-hand bookshops in Paris. Unable to understand the book titles, Miller would substitute his own titles that reflected his own life experiences.

The Penguin series began in 2001, after Miller found a box of Penguin books near Notre Dame in Paris. Appropriating book covers points towards Miller’s keen interest in literature. This artist is also a writer and received critical acclaim for his novel, Slow Down Arthur, Stick to Thirty (2000). Miller combines his passion for literature with his artistic talent, exploring the relationship between the written word and image, as well as the disconnect between representation and reality. Miller was also intrigued with how he could subvert the viewer’s perception through the use of provocative humour in his book titles, as evidenced in this print.

Incurable Romantic Seeks Dirty Filthy Whore has multiple versions within the series. Each version preserves the title and book format; however the text and covers are formatted slightly differently, with the title text shown across different background colours and in different formations. In the screen print from 2010, Miller maintains the simple book cover design, with the title text in bold red in the centre of the composition. The faded cover, torn edges and stains give the impression the book is old, used and dearly loved, recalling the way in which books are treasured items that stay with their owner for a lifetime. The tattered book cover visually references our intimate, long-standing relationship with text and language, something that clearly fascinated Miller, demonstrated by his determination to merge text, language and art. The digital print version from 2011 stands out from the others in this series, as well as other Penguin dust jackets produced by Miller due to its unconventional background. Miller uses a geometrical illusion composed of colourful circles and lines in this print, instead of the simple, monochrome cover that he usually favours. The original oil painting for this digital pigment print was produced by Miller and is currently held in a Private Collection after being in the possession of Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh, who had purchased it for Miller’s exhibition Harland Miller: Overcoming Optimism in 2012–13.

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