"TO READ THAT WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN WRITTEN" / BOOKS FROM THE MARJORIE S. COFFEY ARTISTS' BOOK COLLECTION
September 10, 2020 — October 30, 2020
“To read that which has never been written” / Books from the Marjorie S. Coffey Artists’ Book Collection, part of the Special and Area Studies Rare Book Collections at The University of Florida, is an artist’s books exhibition organized in collaboration with Ellen Knudson, Associate in Book Arts at The University of Florida, where she holds a joint position between the Special and Area Studies Collections Libraries and the School of Art and Art History. UG Grad Assistant Brie Rosenbloom was in charge of the coordination.
This exhibition is focused on artists’ books that deal with the relationship between image and text. The title for the exhibition “To read that which has never been written” is a quote that comes from the book of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, The Signature of All Things: On Method. According to Agamben, signatura is “not just not about signs, it's not about anything that has ever been written. Rather, it would seem that, in Hofmannsthal's deep image, men in heaven learned, perhaps for the first time, to «read that which has never been written». But this means that the signature is the place where the gesture of reading and the gesture of writing invert their relationship and enter a zone of undecidability. Reading here becomes writing and writing is dissolved entirely in reading..."
This selection of artists’ books was based on Agamben’s idea of signaturas and, our selection criteria was to include books that reflects on this historically rich and complex relationship. There are twenty-two books in exhibition by artists such as Ronald King, Amelia R. Bird, Damara Kaminecki, Romano Hänni, Jaime Shafer, Sarah Bryant, Barbara Tetenbaum, Julie Chen, Elizabeth Pendergrass & John Hastings, Jessica White, Joanna Ruocco, Philip Zimmermann, Stephanie Wolff, Radha Pandey, Ellen Knudson and Emily Martin, among others.
UG is grateful to Lourdes Santamaría-Wheeler, Exhibits Director at the George A. Smathers Libraries of the University of Florida, for her support in the organization of this exhibition.