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Morbid Anatomy, 2003, artist’s book
paper collage
Morbid Anatomy, 2003, artist’s book
paper collage
 

Morbid Anatomy

I made this book for a 2003 group show on the themes of censorship and book burning. I wondered what makes people want to burn books that others think are brilliant, or at least innocent. I thought the disconnect lay with the readers, perhaps with the act of reading itself. So I read a book, The Human Body, Dr. Logan Clendenning, New York 1927 (chosen on the idea that medicine is the world’s most controversial subject). As I read, I copied out every word, sentence, and paragraph that particularly struck me for any reason. I then read what I had copied and found that I had excerpted a coherent narrative but one that was entirely different from the book it came out of. In other words, I had read a book that existed in my own head, not the one I had held in my hands.

I made Morbid Anatomy from that excerpted narrative. All of the text is Dr. Clendenning’s, reworked through my act of reading and illustrated with collages.