This Train

Justine Kurland



This new publication from Justine Kurland presents two interwoven narratives drawn from the road trips across the United States that she undertook with her young child between the years 2005 and 2010. The first thread is a sequence of arresting large-format photographs of her child and herself, disentangled from the renowned images of roads, trains, infrastructure, and fellow travelers Kurland was making at the same time. Revisiting these photographs, Kurland suggests a clarified reading of them as an anti-history of family and travel, upending the conventional family album to tell a story of queer motherhood and image-making in step with Kurland’s maternal line, for whom crossing the American landscape was a matter of dire necessity.

On the other side of this unspooling concertina publication are Kurland’s photographs of the railroads which traverse the American landscape. Deconstructing the familiar mythology of the railway as a pioneering symbol of modernity, these images observe the reality of the ways these routes carve and stain the landscape, often overwhelmed by surrounding nature, leaving behind barren strips of sun-stained asphalt and eerily perfect parallel tracks. Bookended by new texts from Constance Debré and Lily Cho, This Train treats the American landscape as the fabricated tableau that it is, a cultural fable which conceals histories of Chinese migrant labor and the human cost of freedom. Kurland re-appraises an interwoven set of paradigms which retain a tenacious grip on contemporary American life: the nuclear family, the open road, the violence of expansion, and the intractable force of the land itself.

Limited edition of 1,000 signed copies including a signed and numbered print handmade by the artist.

Limited edition of 1,000 signed copies including a signed and numbered print handmade by the artist

Leporello bound hardcover, embossed with 2 flaps and tipped-in image to front cover
25.3 x 18.3cm, 102 pages
Includes a handmade print by the artist (20.3 x 16.4cm)

ISBN 978-1-915743-29-9
February 2024
€120 £100 $140

‘Happily, this rich book object invites multiple viewings, so that all of its meanings might unfold.’ Vanity Fair

‘If Casper and Justine are a pair held by a landscape in This Train, it is one that doesn’t always feel like it is holding them in safety; but among the indifference of the great American plains, they seem to hold each other within it.’ AnOther

‘Family albums usually look the same: holiday dinners and birthday parties, children positioned in front of prized roses, or domestic settings that project class and stability through guises of normalcy drawn from scenes in television sitcoms. Where are the family albums of a queer single mother living on the road with her child?’ The Guardian 

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