Ways and Means
Ways and Means Ways and Means
London: Kelpra Editions and Waddington and Tooth Graphics. 1977.

Limited edition. Signed by Allen Jones and numbered 40 of 50. Folio. 500x350mm. Printed on Velin Arches 250gsm at Kelpra Studio. pp. 36 of which 30 pages are numbered. Loose as issued in a printed card wrapper and in the original cloth covered portfolio, screen-printed endpapers with a repeated stiletto shoe design. Lacking the slipcase but in excellent condition. Each of the thirty pages (plus the title page) is illustrated with colour screenprints all in Jones's highly eclectic Pop Art style, incorporating collage, photography, cartoon strips (referencing Lichtenstein) and drawing. Jones's inventiveness is given unity by his concentration on the aesthetics of fetishised sexuality. As Jones said of his work: "Fetishism and the transgressive world produced images that I liked because they were dangerous".

Jones is seen as "problematic" these days and certainly this collection is louche and lascivious, but he was never an easy artist. He was drawn to Pop Art in the early 1960s, attracted by what he described as its "toughness". Jones absorbed the all-American directness and machismo of the movement but then undercut it with a specifically English tongue in cheek irony. What is striking about Jones's work in Ways and Means is how he juxtaposes quasi- pornographic imagery with old advertising campaigns from the 1940s and 1950s which use women in an objectified, commercial way forcing us to raise questions about the relationship between the two. Is advertising pornography or pornography advertising? At least Jones raises the question in an honest, if somewhat direct, way. Perhaps it is his frankness that people object to. By placing images of stockinged, bondage-attired dominatrices alongside post-war advertisements for bras, bread and asparagus (yes, really), Ways and Means suggests that the former are simply the continuation of an aesthetic tradition with its roots in western commerce. Jones's work is about something much more interesting than sex. This is a fine set of Jones' controversial, sometimes outrageous but always interesting prints.