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.
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.
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.
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
Ttepye fe fn rr t, 2009