Book Works

Beginning in 2009 I began a series of Book Works (of which the Francois Sagan Series is a part), applying rules to existing texts to transform them into new texts and new books. They were studies in deconstruction and reconstruction. What happens if I to strip a text back to one fundamental element? What function does that element perform within the narrative? Like a physicist in a search of fundamental particles I was smashing narratives to bits to see what the parts do. The first of these Book Works was The Bell Jar, a remaking of Sylvia Plath's novel of that name, using only the first and last lines of each chapter. In this work I was asking the question: how little information do you need in order to maintain a coherent narrative? I was surprised to find that, even though the vast majority of information had been removed, the reader still had a clear sense of the story.

The Bell Jar, 2009

This was followed by Mountolive, from the novel of that name by Lawrence Durrell. This Book Work is a study in colour, an examination of how colour is used in that novel. Whenever Durrell describes something, using a colour, I highlighted the description in that colour.

Mountolive, 2009

CJ Robinson, Mountolive, Book Work, 2009
CJ Robinson, Mountolive, Book Work, 2009
CJ Robinson, Mountolive, Book Work, 2009
CJ Robinson, Mountolive, Book Work, 2009

In Words I decided to see if I could find a phrase of my own within the text of someone else. The phrase I was seeking was "these words of dead poets fall like corpses from my mouth", and the book I sought this phrase in was the childhood memoir of Jean Paul Sartre. At the first instance of the word "these" I highlighted it by colouring that whole page other than my word in pencil. I then began searching for the second word, highlighting it the same way when I found it. I continued in sequence until I had found the last word with only a few pages to spare.

Words, 2009

CJ Robinson, Words, Book Work, 2009
CJ Robinson,Words, Book Work, 2009

A second version of this work exists where I remade the book removing all the text other than my eleven words where they were found in the original.

CJ Robinson, Words, Book Work, 2009

Finally in 2009, making up a substantial part of my Masters Degree show, I produced a trilogy of Book Works, collaged line by line from three novels of Twentieth Century erotica, Story of O by Pauline Reage, Querrelle of Brest by Jean Genet, and Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. I remade these novels as SuorrcolfOoa Be s, Qrori lo  C  c e, and Ttepye fe  fn rr t collaging the titles letter by letter.

SuorrcolfOoa Be s, 2009

Qrori lo  C  c e, 2009

CJ Robinson, Qrori lo  C  c e, Book Work, 2009

Ttepye fe  fn rr t, 2009

CJ Robinson, Ttepye fe  fn rr t, Book Work, 2009