Before After

Reviewed by John Burtle

 

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Throughout this 10-page postcard book designed by Rachel Berks, Zackary Drucker and A.L. Steiner playfully pose in a variety of sexy positions. On the first page we see the most formally simple shot; the two artists free-standing, naked atop a faux-fur rug. Drucker stands with her back to the camera. Steiner faces forward with her bangs covering her eyes. Following this, they weave in and out of several positions and outfits, frequently accentuating the dramatic differences in the two women’s bodies. Unlike the before and after shots we are familiar with from makeover shows and info-mercials, here the viewer is left to ponder Before/After what?

 

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It is the kind of postcard book where the postcard is on a tab that has the same image only smaller, rotated ninety degrees. This way the owner can mail the postcards and still have a booklet with all the images. The format is perfect for this book for two distinct reasons. The repeating, shrinking, turning of the images (many of which themselves are made up from a pair of images) creates another way the artists bodies twist, and interact on each page. Also, depending on the order in which the postcards are torn out, different images are juxtaposed next to each other. the book itself transforms and is a dramatically different experience to go through. In it’s most reduced form, after all the postcards have been removed the book is a third the size.
 
I like to imagine these postcards in the mail. They offer a delightfully different form of sex appeal than the bikini beach babes one would expect to find on a postcard from Miami. From people’s desks, to mailbags, to being stuck on a recipient’s fridge with a strawberry magnet, I like pondering all their potential destinations.
 

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A.L. Steiner and Zackary Drucker, Before After (Bas Fischer Institute, 2011)
 
Cover and Images: from A.L. Steiner and Zackary Drucker, Before After, 2011

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