Thanks to Jennifer, a regular blog follower and responder to my words, for this…‘Local Library (UMBERTO, UGO, ASTRID, ERICH, EMIL & IDA)’ in 2012 by Aleksandra Mir. It is a construct of unique and flexible shelves, tables and benches that expand into room size installations, sitting between the realm of sculpture and furniture. They are to be seen as ‘comfort pieces for the digital age…envisions placed in otherwise clinical environments, galleries, museums or homes, in co-existence with modern electronic information devices: computers, plasma screens, cell phones, and of course, digital book readers such as Ipads or Kindles.’ They make a comment on the recent reports on electronic book sales exceeding paper “real” book sales…an issue that I constantly battle with in my mind as I love print. ‘Local Library‘ ‘marks a moment of nostalgia as we see the book as we have known it since the advent of the printing press in the 15th century…vanish.’ Mir further reverses the book-making process and returns the unprocessed paper through the organic component of cellulose to its original constitution as wood…a “backwards” representation as such of the book in a physical form. There are nearly 50,000 species of wood in the world with about 200 commercially available. Mir wanted to represent this diversity so has presented a spectrum of wood types in the works. ‘Local Library‘ can also be perceived as a library for those who can’t or don’t have the ability to read, since the surface, the texture, and color of every single block of wood tells a dramatic story of time and place, worthy of a novel. In the future Mir is also interested in developing room-size commissions around the world, to explore a variety of wood trails, to work with reclaimed and recycled woods and to deepen the connections between nature, history, and the sense of location in her work.
As regards each book’s title, each piece carries the name of an author or literary character. This titling convention is a nod to the artist’s upbringing in Sweden and the ubiquitous IKEA book shelf ‘Billy’. In contrast to this mass-produced bookcase the works here are unique and ring with associations to their individual names:
- UMBERTO (Eco – Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist)
- UGO (Volli – Italian semiotician who published in Eco’s Versus: Quaderni di studi semiotici)
- ASTRID (Lindgren – Swedish children’s book author)
- ERICH (Kaestner – German children’s book author)
- EMIL (of Kaestner’s stories) & IDA (of Lindgren’s stories)
This work will be on display for the first time at the Galeria Joan Prats on the 27th September until 1st November 2012. Aleksandra Mir was also recently on display with the exhibition ‘Pursuit of Perfection’ at the South London Gallery.