Walk into the white cube of the exhibition space and you’re greeted by four walls with tiny books standing on tiny shelves. Next to the door, several magnifying glasses sit on logs (with stories of their own) for you to pick. With a magnifier in hand, you go forth like an old-timey Sherlock to peer into the little books. The very small size of the books and their texts and images mean you have to look hard at them to figure out what they say. The magnifier helps, but it has a peculiar effect. It draws what is usually an instant glance into a long gaze, and in the act of looking are your thoughts attenuated as well.
In that opportunity of time, you begin to ponder the things within the books and soon realise the text is written in “was”, “were” and “yesteryear”. In one, pictures of past journeys taken with family and friends. In another, memories of meaningful possessions. In yet another, a dead moth glued to the pages. It becomes apparent; what is contained within these pages overflows their limited, fragile frames and fills you, the viewer, with an intimate sense of another’s memories. You peek through each book as though through a keyhole into the artist’s life, and feel like a voyeur, but privileged with permission.
Some may look upon this as maudlin sentimentality, and it may be, but the emotional tone is well balanced enough that it does not fall precipitously into such criticism. A bookful of fingernail paintings, another with its pages ripped out and pasted on a plastic sheet hammered by a nail into the wall and, as though its delicate size didn’t threaten its existence already, one book lay hauntingly damaged and charred by flame. Pieces such as these add different facets to the exhibition to give it a fullness of character.
In sum a splendid show. You’ll sit in the middle of it all contemplating the thoughts they trigger in your own head a while.
14, 15, 21, 22 Dec: 10.00 am - 6.00 pm
24, 26 Dec: 1.00pm - 5.00 pm
23, 30 Dec: 6.00pm - 9.30 pm
1 Jan: 11.00am - 3.00 pm