Untitled (from Tom Tit Tot)

Artist: Susan Howe
object | Letterpress print | 305x229mm | 2013

Susan Howe's poems on view in the 2014 Biennial draw on a wide variety of texts, spanning American, British, and Irish poetry and folklore as well as critical and art historical sources. She begins with copies of the source material, which range from excerpts from the texts themselves to their footnotes, tables of contents, and marginalia. From these, she cuts out sentences and fragments of pages, pasting and taping them to create a new text that retains the typefaces, spacing, and rhythms of the originals. These compositions, built through both controlled and chance arrangements, are then made into letterpress prints, as the characters are imprinted, almost carved, into the paper support. In the final version, the edges of the original fragments disappear, resulting in poems that are at once legible and illegible and which occupy a space between writing and seeing, between reading and looking. For Howe, “the bibliography is the medium.”


Whitney Biennal 2014 | 2014.03.07 - 2014.05.25 | Whitney Museum of American Art(New York City, NY, United States)