John Abbate, Jennifer Bartholomew, Damiano Bertoli, Sue Boucher, Elizabeth Boyce, Sandra Bruce, Louisa Bufardeci, Jen Cabraja, Angela Cavalieri, Martina Copley, Craig Easton, Simone Ewenson, Anna Finlayson, Prudence Flint, Natasha Frisch, Tara Gilbee, Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Tobias Hengeveld, Heather Hesterman, Ann Holt, Ruth Johnstone, Nicholas Jones, Kate Just, Dawn Kanost, Lori-Jean Kirk, Cassandra Laing, Alex Martinis Roe, Brandt McCook, Julie-Anne Milinski, Annee Miron, Claire Mooney, Christine Morrow, Geoff Newton, Pandarosa, Alex Pittendrigh, Stephanie Radok, Carly Richardson, Steven Rendall, Louise Rippert, Janita Ryan, Elissa Sadgrove, Alex Selenitsch, Sandra Selig, Heather Shimmen, Julia Silvester, Lynette Smith, Masato Takasaka, Sally Tape, Nadine Renee Treister, Emma van Leest, Elke Varga, Carmel Wallace, Darren Wardle, Gary Wheeler, Ilka White, Clare Whitney, Sarah Woods
Lexicon: An exhibition of reworked pages from (a palimpsest of accidental extractions) the Chambers’s English Dictionary – London, 1898
1st of August – 30th of August, 2006
A group exhibition curated by Martina Copley
Gallery @ city library, 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison
Not a pipit
Single color lithographic offset print hand colored with pencil and collage on spicers cotton 270gsm
46cm X 26cm
Printed by Redwood Prints
Perfect bound with 1255 numbered pages, printed in London, 1898, bought by a friend for $20 in a second hand bookstore is an edition that now has the aura of a unique object. Signs of use and accident — stains and tears, jottings and yellow-edged pages — mark the book as integral with its material history, suggesting a world in which the reference book is now an artifact of wisdom. A communal archive of shared knowledge, symbolic of the library and its holdings, the lexicon bears witness to old belief systems still functioning through language.
The intimate boundaries of its form — finitude and sequence, repetition and extension — provide the spatial gestalt for the exhibition. Dismantled and reconstrued, its integrative internal structure sits like a collaged landscape of language. A found poem — an arbitrary gesture in the rooms of a bibliotech — the 'absent text' of the dictionary is now playfully rendered in textual, visual and material manipulations of the original pages.
Artists respond to the codified formal elements of the page — margin, head, gutter, type, text block, illustration, running head... and to the binarism of black ink on white paper. But words seep through, along with their labyrinthine associations. There is a tension between the literal and conceptual page as artists play with the sonoric and visual aspects of language that form part of the substance of the dictionary substrate.