Hamilton, Ann. Untitled. 1992. An altered book with polished pebbles in a lacquered birch and glass case. [ May Sophie. Little Folks Astray. Boston: Lee and Shepard Publishers. 1872. ]
Ann Hamilton is an installation and conceptual artist whose works often reflect her interest in language and the acts of reading, speaking, and listening. While many of the sculptures and objects that she creates are part of her installations, Hamilton also makes independent objects, and this altered book is one such item.
This original book was published in 1872 and called Little Folks Astray. On page nine, where the text of the book begins, Hamilton has disbound some of the gatherings and laid the leaves out, adjacent to the foredge of the original volume, as though they were flowing from it. Obscuring all of the text on the visible pages, word by word, are polished pebbles of various sizes and colors with which Hamilton has rendered the book unreadable. She has employed similar strategies in the making of other books: as part of a 1992 installation at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis she pricked pinholes in the text of a book to make it illegible and, in indigo blue (1991), she obliterated the text of a number of volumes with the aid of saliva and erasers.
Created in an edition of 40, the book is displayed in a lacquered birch and glass case that measures roughly 9 ¼” D x 40” W x 3 ¾” H.
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