Review by Jaye Fishel
A sentence can be made of their having both been not always as counted. She could know them. Know of them. Hear them. Hear about them. Heard them. That is it that is what a sentence is. —Gertrude Stein, How to Write (1931)
How to be multifaceted. How to ask rhetorical questions. How to make imperative statements. How to reinsert the emotional personal me “I” into the impersonal “it”. It is not a person. It is sometimes a cousin. Relationships made and in the making and never seen and being seen and felt. Feeling seeing. Being seen is feeling. Seeing something unexpected. Seeing something that looks expected but is unusual makes it even less expected. Pleasure from the unexpected. Words that flex and bend. Pleasure in language. Pleasure from language. Pleasure from reading. Reading for pleasure. Please sure please her. Images fragmented. Fragments. Then again again. Repetition. Repetition of fragments sometimes makes wholeness. Recto/verso. Dos-a-dos. Public messaging. Pubic mess aging.
Pages are quarters of posters. Fragments again. Gertrude Stein’s text out of context. Does it matter? Doesn’t recognition sometimes necessitate exposure. Isn’t exposure usually a part of a whole. Wholeness is difficult to impossible to expose. Codification is a way to get close rather than be alienated. Asking questions infects the mind. The mind is where reality exists. Can I convince others of solopsism’s generous potential. Is life a simulation?
Resembling. Resonate. Sound it again. Codification. My mother is a fish. To read queerness. To see queerness. To be a queer reader. To read queer. Covering then uncovering queerness. Covering queer books only for them to be uncovered. Unwrapping as discovery. Delight. Turning pages as discovery. Discovering connections among disjointed elements. Black on black. Obfuscation. Pink just pink. Code. How to read.
I think I’ve seen this before. Repetition invites safety. But also suspension. Suspension invites trust. Trust us. Recto repeats verso. Reification is clever. Posters as agents of activity.
Poster images in quarters fill the page, parts spreads apart. Can we see wholeness across chasms of intentional fragmentation? Wholeness is not even possible—just halves. Wholeness only in black and white reproductions in situ. But we see in color. So wholeness is not possible. Unless we are a dog. But fragmentation helps us read differently than usual. Maybe diegesis is fragmentation. But here mimesis is also fragmented. Maybe all we can hope for is parts of a whole at a time all the time. Maybe whole is too much too vulnerable too overwhelming too unrealistic. Solopsistic mind will never be fully given. An unresolvable question. Put it out there anyway. Curious mind gathers no moss but collects a lot of dirt.
Grammar includes excuse felicity. —Gertrude Stein, How to Write.
Eve Fowler, Anyone Telling Anything is Telling That Thing, (Printed Matter, 2013)
Images: Cover and interior of Anyone Telling Anything is Telling That Thing
Anyone Telling Anything Is Telling That Thing is the 2013 edition commissioned by Printed Matter for the NY Art Book Fair & Contemporary Artists’ Books Conference. By Eve Fowler, based on her public poster project of texts from Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. Designed by Lauren Mackler. Organized by David Senior. With an essay by Litia Perta & Corrine Fitzpatrick.