The exhibit takes its title and inspiration from French poet Stéphane Mallarmé’s concept: The Book (Le Livre). Mallarmé envisioned The Book as a cosmic text-architecture: an extremely flexible structure that would reveal nothing short of “all existing relations between everything.” Freed from the subjectivity of its author, The Book was to contain the sum of all books and embody the essence of all literature, while at the same time, still be a “very ordinary” book.
Nachman continues his decade plus meditation on our historical moment, and what he perceives as the twilight of western modalities and metaphysics. His characters continue to adorn the mask of the harlequin (made contemporary via the corpse paint used by Black Metal musicians) in order to depersonalize them—to present them as embodiments of idea and emotion. This series focuses around a couple (loosely modeled after Burton and Taylor in the movie “Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolfe”) laboring to achieve The Book. Theirs is a joyous indulgence… if ultimately fruitless. It is an existential crisis which we all can oddly identify with; a struggle with a destination where the self imposed weight becomes a mask that we carry like a character in a play.