Teju Cole has a new book coming out. The book is titled Golden Apple of the Sun and features photos of Cole’s kitchen counter tops taken during the US election season. The book also features an essay, which Cole describes on Facebook as “long and intricate.” The essay explores a miscellany of themes, ranging from “hunger, fasting, mourning, slavery, intimacy, painting, poetry [to] the history of photography.” The photos and essay are punctuated by pictures of a handwritten 18th century cookbook.
Golden Apple of the Sun is Cole’s 7th book and may just be his most unusual. It is intriguing in the way it centers intimate space against the back drop of uncertain political conditions. The book is published by Mack, a London-based independent publisher of books on visual arts.
Pre-order Golden Apple of the Sun: Mack | Amazon
Read the publisher’s note:
In the period leading up to the November 3, 2020 elections in the United States, Teju Cole began to photograph his kitchen counter in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Working in the still life tradition of Chardin, Cezanne, and the Dutch masters, as well as such contemporary photographers as Laura Letinsky and Jan Groover, he photographed every day over the course of five weeks. Unlike those illustrious forbears, Cole left his arrangements entirely to chance, “the bowls and plates moving in their unpredictable constellations.”
What emerges is a surprising portrait, across time, of one kitchen counter in one home at a time of social, cultural, and political upheaval. Alongside the photographs is a long written essay, as wide-ranging in its concerns—hunger, fasting, mourning, slavery, intimacy, painting, poetry and the history of photography—as the photographs are delimited in theirs.
The text and photographic sequences are interspersed with an anonymous handwritten eighteenth century cookbook from Cambridge. Golden Apple of the Sun is a luminous and humane work, presented with the formal boldness and oblique intelligence we have come to expect from Teju Cole.