Golden Apple of the Sun

Teju Cole




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.




Embossed hardback

19.3 x 25.3 cm, 136 pages

ISBN 978-1-913620-21-9

July 2021

€40 £35 $50

The signed edition includes a slip signed by the artist and bound into the inside back cover.

‘While the essay is dense, historical, and full of personal reflection, the images themselves are simple and stark … [Cole] alludes to the still-life genre as a kind of autobiography, forcing us to consider what is at the edges of our own stories‘ Art Agenda

‘A startling document‘ Artnet

‘Cole’s juxtapositions of form and content — words and pictures — make us freshly see the genres, places, and everyday occurrences we thought we knew.‘ Los Angeles Review of Books

‘Many artists have felt the lure of juxtaposing photographs and text, but few have succeeded as well as Teju Cole. He approaches this problem with an understanding of the limitations and glories of each medium.‘ Stephen Shore

‘One of the best works of art the pandemic has brought’ NRC

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