Look On This Wonder
27 2.25 inch high paper prisms in an 8.25 inch high acrylic prism.
2016
Medium: Inkjet on Japanese Asuka paper.

Title and selected lines of poetry by Walt Whitman from “I Sing the Body Electric” in his 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass. Body by David Griffin.

Edition: 5

I wanted to play with the idea of the book as a myriorama. The traditional myriorama was a set of cards with various images of a landscape, always with an internal element that joined the cards together while at the same time allowing them to be juxtaposed in any order. Look On This Wonder uses paper prisms as five-sided “pages” that can be moved around randomly within the “book” or be separated from the other pages and rearranged outside the confines of the acrylic prism “binding.” The pages can also be stacked on top of one another to form three-dimensional “chapters.”  Each page has three squares and two triangles: the squares provide spaces for various fragmented views of the male nude and selected words from Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric;” the triangles entreat the viewer over and over to look on the wonder of the human body. Touching the fragile paper prisms is like touching the model’s body parts, adding an element of sensuality to the rigid geometry of the prisms.To add a bit of mischievousness to this playful myriorama, while one might assume that the elements of the nude body appearing on the faces of the prisms can be put back together; most cannot, however, and will always remain fragmented; only one set of sides comes together to form a complete image of the body thereby reconstructing the poem in its original order. The questions of what constitutes a page and what constitutes a book remain as unresolved and mysterious as ever. As Gertrude Stein wrote in Tender Buttons: “Book was there, it was there. Book was there.”

Acrylic prism binding

Individual paper prisms spilling out of binding.

Pages placed in a pattern

Pages looking down from above.

An individual page.

Pasting the prisms.
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