A  N  N   H  O  L  Y O  K  E .  O  R  G    |    A    M  E  T  H  O  D  O  L  O  G  I  C  A  L    C  A  T  A  L  O  G  U  E   O  F    W  O  R  K  S




02  |   R E A D I N G  B E T W E E N  T H E  L I N E S

Collage, diptych, 1980/81
Cut-and-pasted printed paper on foam-core mounting board
Each panel 125 x 100 cm ( 125 x 200 cm, when hung )

Collage, triptych
Cut-and-pasted printed paper on foam-core mounting board
Each panel 125 x 100 cm ( 125 x 310 cm, when hung ).

In 1980, I felt a strong desire—actually, more of an obligation—to continue the process of altogether omitting figurative elements from my work. I did so by focussing on the neutral surfaces that had served the Berlin flute pictures as background texture, thus producing what I considered to be LIFE IN THE BIG CITY’s tonal opposites. As described above, the light-hued, monochrome material in question is easily gathered, in quantity, from areas in magazines that are, I won’t say unprinted, but rather free from text and image, although—and this is crucial—any printing on the reverse of the paper rectangles can (although of course inverted) usually be deciphered, albeit with difficulty.

I produced a diptych and a triptych entirely out of small, “white” rectangles of such printed paper (about the format of good-sized postage stamps), arranging them in five-centimeter-wide vertical ( in the diptych ) and horizontal ( in the triptych ) rows. Executed on the same foam-core material as the flute pieces and LIFE IN THE BIG CITY, both polyptychs are entitled READING BETWEEN THE LINES.

Here, not only the lines and columns that divide up the surface-structure are key, but the sequence in which the paper has been pasted on as well: whether, that is, I worked from top to bottom, left to right, or vice versa. This plays an important, albeit understated, rôle in the works’ appearance, as the question of which edges of the paper snippets will catch the available light is determined by which have been pasted over and which left showing. Such considerations are a nod in the direction of, well, direction : the direction, for instance, of the movements of the eyes when reading, or the spread of pages, recto and verso, from the binding of a book as it lies open on a table, or as the reader leafs or riffles through it.

Each small rectangle is tinted—which, in this case, means printed—a somewhat different shade of white or grey, which creates a muted, almost marbleized, overall effect. Patterns, or rather pathways, appear, developing within and between the rows : traces that lead the same fugitive, but emphatic, existence that the “trails” or “passages” created by various spacings and letter combinations in a typeset text-block do. There, the reader perceives such paths peripherally, literally out of the corner of his eye, at the very edges of his field of vision ; but as soon as he attempts to look at them directly, to fix them with his gaze, they melt away, leaving behind only the printed characters themselves—black, definite, and guileless—a phenomenon analogous to the relationship maintained between sense and meaning.

Together, the two halves of the diptych measure 125 by 200 centimeters, and are meant to be mounted on the wall directly abutting and flush with one another, to resemble the spread of facing pages in an open book , whereas the three panels of the triptych together measure 125 by 310 centimeters and should be hung five centimeters apart, like separate pages, or sheets of manuscript.