The Library of Lost Books project was initiated and curated by Susan Kruse, an artist in Birmingham, UK. Birmingham Central Library let Susan rescue books that were being discarded from damage or disuse. Each rescued book was sent to a selected artist to be re-made as a work of art. As one of the artists selected for participation in the project, ANALECTA GRÆCA MAJORA, an 1806 bound edition of Greek classics, arrived at my house, sent from across an ocean, neatly wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. The book, with its beautiful rag paper pages heavily impressed in elegant typeface, was no longer read, and not valuable enough in provenance or authorship to be kept by the library. Not wanting to further damage the old book, I scanned some of the pages, along with marginalia, stamps from the donor, and the Latin notes. The scans were printed onto rice paper, and each page was cast into a small boat. I constructed tiny oars, and positioned the boats within a refinished maple cabinet. The book, with only a silhouette of a boat cut from the cover, remains intact, appended to the lid of the cabinet like an old school book. The title Exile and Return, makes reference to the origin of the book’s stories, while also reflecting the transportation of words from one place and time to another, enabling the texts to have continued resonance.
excised, discarded book, digital prints on rice paper, varnish, thread, leather straps, Plexiglas, eye hooks, refinished Maple and Cedar cabinet, 2013. Made specifically for The Library of Lost Books Project, Birmingham, UKGo to link