Artist book with a (photo)graphical compendium of objects, gestures, body parts… which are processed in collages.
Self-rebuses (artist book). Available on www.frommetoyou.be
Publication — Art, concept, design: Maud Vande Veire / Dimensions: 28,7 x 20,5 cm / Pages: 204 / Print: silk screen printing (cover), Riso printing (inside & appendix) / Publisher: From Me To You Publications / First Edition: 100 / Year: 2011 / ISBN: 978-94-91243-00-4
For some reason I could not turn the key in the keyhole. I tried several times, but it did not move; I even had trouble pulling it out. Nobody was at home or would come home within the next hours.
I considered calling a friend who has a second key and lives a few blocks away. There are three copies of the key. In fact, there are more. Next to the ones in brass, I have hundreds of copies printed in the edition of my artist book Self-rebuses.
I could have given my friend the original key and kept the copy for myself, a copy in which some details might have been lost. So I sent him a message and sat down on the doorsill to await his reply.
I closed my eyes. Maybe it was not the key. Maybe something was wrong with the door. Or with my hand, or with the gesture of my hand. Key, door, hand, what else? I went over a number of other objects, body parts and gestures and then slowly dozed off.
From one moment to the next, things turned into paper. They were copies from my artist book: a stone, a glass, an angry face, a lifted arm. The objects faded away and I saw myself trying to put a paper key in the metal front door. The paper copy differed slightly from the original but I could turn the key halfway, and then it stopped.
While I racked my brain for a possible solution, all the color drained from my face. My head was slowly turning into paper. Detail, color and depth were evaporating. During this simplification, all colored dots were being sorted according to their intensity and afterwards translated into black or white dots. But not only were the colored dots transformed; each particle reaching the skin, nose, ears or eyes was classified as soon as the paper mind tried to understand what it had perceived. Each particle was translated into words. Words missing the crackling, glowing and fading of things. Words that could not grasp the breeze or gust of wind that blew through the mind. Ultimately the words were poured into the same graphical skeleton as the paper head itself and black letters appeared on the pages of the book.
Still in a twilight zone between sleeping and waking, I flipped through the book and stopped at the word ‘open’. There are many copies of the word ‘open’. Not only the one hundred more or less similar copies in the edition of my book. There were also copies on a package of cereal this morning, on a neon sign behind a shop window a few hours ago, in the newspaper that published the ‘open’ letter from a famous writer to the Prime Minister last week. Here the differences were not strictly typographical but occurred in the realm of context.
I placed a paper door, a head, a knot and a wad of paper between my paper head and hand. I made various combinations. My two arms held the door; I replaced the hand and head with an electrical wire. I attached the wad of paper to a chair held by the hand. I was not sure which material I was using for these compositions. It could have been the copied images. It could have been the words. Maybe it was something else.
Finally, I put the word ‘open’ on my front door and put the paper key in the word ‘keyhole’. Instead of the front door, a door in my head opened up. Behind the door there was another copy of my head, covered with my hands. Everything went dark. All I could see were the gaps arising from the differences between the copies and their originals, between the words and what they represented. I tried to accumulate all the gaps, as in a playful experiment I had once conducted as a child when I had laid my head on the copy machine, made a copy and used that to make a new one. In certain areas the gray tones had been replaced by blanks but in others they had grown bigger and blacker.
I had repeated this procedure until I ended up with a puzzling image of myself.