(front of the box)


A dynamic duo in the artworld, Nicolas Kahn and Richard Selesnick. They were both born in 1964, Nicolas in New York and Richard in London. Their paths crossed at Washington University in St. Louis in 1982, where they worked together informally as photography majors until 1986. After their graduation their ways separated for a few years, but in 1988 they both went to Cape Cod in Massachusetts and have been working together ever since. Until 1995 they worked on sculptural installations, but in 1996 they began their series of narrative photo-novellas, the "Flight Series", which started with the story of the Royal Excavation Corps, set in England in the 1930's. The story was told through displayed artifacts, historical documentation and photo's from actual expeditions. The exposition was set in a 360 degrees photographic panorama.
This concept was repeated in several projects, with different settings and stories. In 2007 their "Eisbergfreistadt" exposition was launched and in 2008 they received the AICA (International Association of Art Critics) award for that project.

It is the fictitious story of an iceberg that came drifting from the Artic and stranded off of the coast of the German city of Lübeck during the hyperinflation in Germany in 1923. The exposition consisted of a variety of media, such as photographs, postcards, architectural models, banknotes and newspaper clippings. We've added a few examples on separate pages. Interested? Click HERE.

But you may want to enjoy the deck first.........

The deck was offered on eBay as "a reproduction of a deck from 1923". It seems that the seller wasn't familiar with the Kahn & Selesnick concept. But it's understandable, as the deck is done in a design and style that simulates the 1920's very well. Here the chimney suit sets the time. Birds, icebergs, weeds, they are all perennial, but architecture -here of the factories and their chimneys- will always reflect a certain time frame. Of course the story they tell isn't a pleasant one, but the style itself gives the images an atmosphere, fitting the Depression years, as Germany has faced in the 1920's too.
But at the same time it's a story that is "hot" at this moment too: pollution and it's consequences for man and nature. The deck shows the social and environmental commitment of Kahn & Selesnick. The text on the extra card could be seen as their artist's statement for this edition.
As many artists have done, Kahn & Selesnick have chosen to design their own suit signs. In this deck the suits are "Chimney", "Bird", "Ice" and "Weed".

We usually show the courts from King to Jack, but in this case the other way around is more appropriate. The deck was designed as a 360 degree panorama and the sequence runs from 1 (ace) to King in each suit. There's no first or last suit, as it's basically an ongoing panorama. But judging by the text of the extra card we may assume that the Ace of Chimney is meant to be at the beginning of the sequel. Looking at the panorama from that point on, the sequel ends on the King of Bird.


The deck consists of 52 cards and 2 extra cards. These explain the choice for the different suits in rhyme.
The moral of the story is obvious and the warning to be taken serious.

I wish I could say that the deck can be ordered at the K & S website, but the edition was sold out long time ago.
Still, their projects and art are interesting enough for a visit: http://www.kahnselesnick.com