A A O UE is a new edition by Keren Benbenisty which transforms The Burghley Collection catalogue into an artist book. The book consists of over 200 unique drawings that were created by disassembling the publication and removing most of the printed content from the newly emancipated sheets. Unlike traditional drawings, Benbenisty marks by removing: Using carefully placed pieces of scotch tape she preserves sections of each page, erasing most of the text and much of the photographic surfaces, She transforms the mass produced imagery into a series of ‘pieces unique’ stripped of their bourgeois trimmings.
The Burghley Collection features a vintage catalogue of Japanese porcelains collected by the upper echelons of British Royal society, documenting ancient Oriental artifacts according to a Western code of ownership and provenance, exposing the influence that Far Eastern culture had on Western cultural developments. Since the early imperialistic forays into the East, these wares have stood as symbols of the cultural and historical exchange between East and the West.
Benbenisty’s rebound artist book presents a poetic yet violent intervention into the relations which have traditionally defined western appropriations of eastern culture. Her drawing project goes beyond transforming mundane, everyday objects into historic artifacts. The new shapes and forms revealed both foreshadow and accelerate the porcelain’s decay, re-imagining the catalogue as a collection of archeological ruins. The resultant works exemplify Walter Benjamin’s notion of a dialectical image, charging the work with a political potential that Benjamin ascribed to images that contained within them a temporal fluxus. By including traces of the ‘whole’ object alongside its imagined decay, she exposes the various mythological claims that have long defined the ‘orient’, while simultaneously challenging these constructs through the elaboration of new negative spaces. The book was launched by Printed Matter on May 14th in New York City and contains an interview with Maud Jaquin, and essay by Jessica Eisenstein.