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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Carine Wallauer: Sand dunes, Nothingness and Isolation

O Vazio é um Espelho (Emptiness is a mirror) by Carine Wallauer is a modest but rather lovely handmade book from Brazil.

It's an existentialist experiment in how we 'project ourselves onto the other'... 'an invitation to touch the face of a stranger on paper, to feel the objective and subjective textures of the different layers of the self'.

It's a beautiful and delicate book. When it arrived in the post it was wrapped in reflective silver paper. Open it up, there's a threaded layer of translucent paper, take the book out and the title is embroidered on the cover in reverse (there's the mirror again).

The cover shows a fragment of a face, but fold it out and we see the  portrait featured above; bare shoulders, cracked lips and sad eyes on an empty beach.

We see a woman walking naked on sand dunes, so there's isolation (and the sand dunes always remind me both of Shoji Ueda and of Antanas Sutkus' pictures of Sartre on the Lithuanian sand dunes).

We see the face more, rolling through a half-frame effect, the expression turning from smile to a half-sewn up page of emptiness. There's the void, there's the nothingness.

Wallauer says the book is an experiment, and so it is. It's a small but thoughtful experiment that (though not entirely successful visually) finds expression in a modest but beautiful book where the pictures, the stitching, the folds, the paper make for an object that is lovely to touch and that create and serve the mood of the title. And I expect the experiment is ongoing, because the investigation into who we really is never ending.

See the book here

Buy the book here.

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