PENNY McCARTHY

SHADOW BOOK

Shadow Book is an inventory that attempts to index a collection of fragments. I started work on this in Venice, writing and drawing in notebooks in cafes. Some fragments are notes about the history of the place, including references to Malamocco one of the lagoon’s lost islands, others are pictures, scraps, detritus. The book attempts to find an organising principle for material that has become dislocated from its original function in a narrative. There are pictures and drawings of Venice but also of other people in another time.

Venice for me seems to function as an alternative elsewhere in which time often buckles and folds. Although it was not intended as an exercise in nostalgia, somehow my first experience of that floating city offered up my past, spilling over, bubbling up. It is this sense of multiple times over-laying one another that I tried to capture. It was not only Venice I wandered in, it was the forgotten places of memory. The longer I stayed there, the longer this continued, as if the voices of my past were echoing against those calles. I felt filled with a kind of sadness I could not name but was disquieted by­–longing? Melancholy? I’ve returned to Venice many times since Shadow Book and familiarity has not altered my sense of it. Venetians seem to criss-cross the bridges to the past with a grace that I have only ever seen in cats as they weave their way between worlds.

2004

Monograph

168 pp: 28 il. col. ; 16,7 x 16,3 cm

published by The Research Group for Artists Publications, designed by Secondary Modern

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