David Campany
a Handful of Dust

a Handful of Dust is David Campany’s speculative history of the last century, and a visual journey through some of its unlikeliest imagery. Let’s suppose the modern era begins in October of 1922. A little French avant-garde journal publishes a photograph of a sheet of glass covered in dust. The photographer is Man Ray, the glass is by Marcel Duchamp. At first they called it a view from an aeroplane. Then they called it Dust Breeding. It’s abstract, it’s realist. It’s an artwork, it’s a document. It’s revolting and compelling. Cameras must be kept away from dust but they find it highly photogenic. At the same time, a little English journal publishes TS Eliot’s poem The Waste Land. “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

And what if dust is really the key to the intervening years? Why do we dislike it? Is it cosmic? We are stardust, after all. Is it domestic? Inevitable and unruly, dust is the enemy of the modern order, its repressed other, its nemesis. But it has a story to tell from the other side.

Campany’s connections range far and wide, from aerial reconnaisance and the American dustbowl to Mussolini’s final car journey and the wars in Iraq. a Handful of Dust will accompany Campany’s exhibition of the same name, curated for Le Bal, Paris (16 October 2015 – 17 January 2016), with works by Man Ray, John Divola, Sophie Ristelhueber, Mona Kuhn, Gerhard Richter, Xavier Ribas, Nick Waplington, Jeff Wall and many others, alongside anonymous press photos, postcards, magazine spreads and movies.


In the press

1000 Words
The New York Times Magazine
American Suburb X
El Pais
Eye Magazine
FT Magazine
Critique d’art
Various Small Fires
1000 Words
Collector Daily
Innocent Curiosity
Paper Journal
Review by Margaret Iversen
American Suburb X
The New York Times Magazine
Humble Arts Foundation
POLKA Magazine
Financial Times
Le Monde
International New York Times
British Journal of Photography

Second edtion here

232 pages
180 colour plates
20 cm x 24 cm
Paperback book in book

Publication date: October 2015

€120.00 £110.00 $140.00

ISBN 9781910164389