By: Art Hazelwood

Pulcinella in Hades is a new limited edition book created at Eastside Editions by Art Hazelwood. It is an accordion fold book… eight feet of continuous four plate color etchings, vertically descending into Hades. It’s a comedy. The protagonist, who appears in every image, is Pulcinella of the commedia dell’arte.

Why an underworld journey should be treated as a comedy can perhaps best be explained by the tremendous amount of literature to back up the view that Hell is indeed a merry place. Comic journeys to Hell and Hades are long standing traditions, and quotes relating to this tradition appear in the margins of this book. 

The central image is bordered by handwritten texts from Plato to Bertolt Brecht, from William Blake to Wilfred Owen as well as many other writers who had a vision of the underworld. The quotes were written out in what amounts to a 21st century handwriting sample by seventeen different people – artists, filmmakers, professors, doctors, etc. These texts were then converted into letterpress plates and printed on the margins of the prints by Jonathan Clark of Artichoke Press, Mountain View, California. 

Pulcinella in Hades is made up of eight connected etchings. Each etching is 12” x 9” and consists of four plates. The etching techniques used aresugar lift and spit bite aquatints with engraving. David Avery printed the images with help from Art Hazelwood on Hahnemuhle Copperplate paper at the press in Sonoma. 

The images and the text are bound together in a book form with Japanese silk covers and an embossed cover image. The book has a dual function. It has a removable spine so that it can not only be paged through like a traditional book but it can also be folded out and suspended as a scroll from a cord attached to the book. Klaus-Ullrich S. Rötzscher bound the books at Pettingell Book Bindery, Berkeley, California. The edition of Pulcinella in Hades is limited to twenty books.

This is the third book by Art Hazelwood to be published by Eastside Editions. Art’s work is in many collections including the Library of Congress, The New York Public Library, Stanford Special Collections and Achenbach Collection in San Francisco.

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