THE OLYMPIA PRESS

23.01 – 06.03.2021

A presentation of books and posters relating to Maurice Girodias’ Olympia Press (1953 – 1973) made in association with Rob Tufnell.

Girodias (1919–1990) made (and lost) a fortune selling transgressive, erotic novels to American GIs and English speaking tourists in Paris in the years after the Second World War. Several of these were written under pseudonyms by respected literary figures including Christopher Logue and Alexander Trochhi (for whom he provided the respective names Count Palmiro Vicarion and Frances Lengel). Prior to this, in the 1940s, Girodias brazenly sold German language guidebooks to French chateaux to members of the occupying Wehrmacht. Aside from what Vladimir Nabokov described as “vulgar little books… of exactly the same nature as the pictures hawked on dark corners of a nun with a St Bernard, or a sailor with a sailor”, Girodias is best remembered as the first publisher of Georges Bataille’s ‘A Tale of Satisfied Desire’ (1953), Samuel Beckett’s ‘Molloy’ (1955), ‘Malone Dies’ and ‘The Unnamable’ (both 1959), William Burroughs’ ‘Naked Lunch’ (1959), Henry Miller’s ‘Plexus’ (1953) and ‘Nexus’ (1959) and Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ (1955), Pauline Réage’s ‘Story of O’ (1956) and Valerie Solanas’ ‘S.C.U.M. Manifesto’ (1967) amongst other significant books. He was also the publisher of the important literary journals Merlin (1952 – 1954) and Bataille’s ‘Critique’ (1946 – 1950) and yet notorious for disputes with his Authors.

 

SEXWARSEXCARSSEX1

Christopher Logue & Derek Boshier
Sex War Sex Cars Sex
1967
screenprint
58.2 x 44.5 cm

 

BASICKNOTSWEB1

Peter Saville
Basic Knots
2014/19
screenprint
76.2 x 50.8 cm

 

QUERELLEWEB

Andy Warhol
poster for the German release of
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s adaptation of Jean Genet’s ‘Querelle’
1982
offset litho
70 x 100 cm