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TOUCHING READING

2023|Text Composition as Explanation (1926) by Gertrude Stein, 16 drawings on digital prints, A5 format in a cabinet – dimensions 412 x 40 x 90 cm.

Touching Reading explores the possibility of non-interpretative relation to text through touch. A series of images consists of printed text fragments that are handwritten over in black ink. The text contains carefully selected fragments of Gertrude Stein’s lecture Composition as Explanation (1926) that address the entanglement between time, history, experience, repetition and difference. The directness of language, its unorthodox syntax and sheer difficulty of the subject matter amount to idiosyncratic text of seemingly effortless flow that fiercely resists a closure of interpretation and understanding. Even though the text is almost a hundred years old, it speaks to the contemporary reader with what could be perceived as uncanny actuality.
Being drawn to this brilliantly ungraspable text, I read it by touching it with a pen and writing over the printed letters in my own handwriting. The reading gaze guides my writing hand, while the hand reciprocally paces the gaze as they coincide in the act of reading, touching and writing. My entanglement with time, history, experience, repetition and difference intensifies and “slows down”, as I am in and with the text. The traces of my handwriting over the printed text form a new typography and visual texture echoing this intense yet non-interpretative engagement with the text. Touching Reading is a part of artistic research project Reading Reading.

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