Written by Es Devlin
Edited by Andrea Lipps
An Atlas of Es Devlin, the first monograph on artist Es Devlin’s genre-defying practice, is an experiential publication encompassing art, activism, theatre, poetry, music, dance, opera, and sculpture.
Devlin’s protean work is rooted in a lifelong practice of reading and drawing. From sketches in the margins of texts, be they poetry, drama, song lyrics, opera libretti, climate reports, or endangered species lists, emerge the technically advanced, collectively imagined universes for which she is globally renowned. Fragile miniature paintings, paper cuts, and small mechanical cardboard models form the seeds of some of the most iconic, large-scale, multi-disciplinary cultural manifestations in recent times, from public sculptures and installations at Tate Modern, Serpentine, V&A, Barbican, Imperial War Museum, and the Lincoln Center, to kinetic stage designs at the Royal Opera House, the Royal Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and the National Theatre, as well as Olympic Ceremonies, Super Bowl half-time shows, and monumental illuminated stage sculptures for Beyoncé, The Weeknd, U2, Rosalía, Dr. Dre, and Kendrick Lamar.
Devlin’s work is at once deeply personal and inherently collective. Over the past decade her art practice has engaged with biodiversity, linguistic diversity, and collective AI-generated poetry. She views the audience as a temporary society and encourages profound cognitive shifts by inviting public participation in communal choral works.
Published in association with a retrospective exhibition opening at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in November 2023, An Atlas of Es Devlin is a unique, sculptural volume of over 900 pages, including foldouts, cut-outs, and a range of paper types, mirror, and translucencies, with over 700 color images documenting over 120 projects spanning over 30 years, and a 50,000 word text featuring the artist’s personal commentaries on each art work as well as interviews with her collaborators including Hans Ulrich Obrist, Bono, Benedict Cumberbatch, Pharrell Williams, Carlo Rovelli, Brian Eno, Sam Mendes, Alice Rawsthorn, and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye. Each book is boxed and includes a die-cut print from an edition of 5000.
Co-published by Thames & Hudson and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.