SLINGER, Penelope. 50% The Visible Woman.

(London): Narcis Publishing Limited, 1971.  First edition.  Slim quarto.  Unpaginated.  A superb image-text collage novel.  Slinger states “Having discovered the magic of surrealism, I wanted to employ its tools and methods to create a language for the feminine psyche to express itself,”  The volume consists of black-and-white photocollages featuring a woman’s body (sometimes her own), each proceeded by a vellum page of text—poetic phrases that curl and weave in communication with the image below it.  The integrating words and pictures form a complete poetic narrative about a woman searching for ways to escape an artistic and cultural gaze, a dream like story that captures the uncanny quality of surrealism, but one that reclaims the female body from its previous position as a vehicle of service.  This is an extraordinary copy, being copy number one of a limited edition of 50 copies, inscribed to Slinger’s then partner Peter [Whitehead].  The pioneering filmmaker is best known for documenting the landmark events in the rise and fall of the counterculture throughout the 1960s, from the Beat poetry reading at the Royal Albert Hall in Wholly Communion, to the explosion of the myth of Swinging London in Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London.  Together they filmed and photographed at Lilford Hall, a decaying mansion in Northamptonshire, England. Although their film project remained unrealized, the photos formed the basis of Slinger’s work, An Exorcism, a surreal journey of self-discovery told in the style of a photo romance.  (The Lilford Hall footage also resurfaced and was shown at Blum and Poe Gallery, Los Angeles 2014, as part of History Is Now at the Haywood Gallery, 2015, and at Anthology Film Archives, and Fortnight Institute, New York, 2019).  This copy is even more remarkable for the fact that Slinger has embellished and hand-coloured using gold ink and oil pastels, 32 of the images in the book.  A process that she was to later employ in her work An Exorcism.  This is a good copy with oxidization to the silver endpapers as usual, in a near fine dust jacket housed in the publisher’s plain black slipcase.  A most desirable copy of this 70’s feminist masterpiece.


Original price was: $11,000.00.Current price is: $8,750.00.