Part one (installation), 2010
Text by Robin Waart:
The publication is printed in a limited edition of 101 numbered copies, each reproducing 101 Part ones. Each book contains one of the yellowed or faded originals, implying the process of collecting has to start all over again. Not just because a collection is never complete – just because it’s hard, maybe impossible, to stop beginning.
Part one Installation. A book publication of 101 Part ones, printed in an edition of 101 copies, numbered 001-101, each containing an original Part one page, issued in July 2010. Book design by Jonas Wandeler. All 101 together are presented in a tailor made wengé bookshelf (hanging 144 cm off the floor), a stool with an unnumbered exhibition copy sitting next to it. Measuring twice its height and twice its width the stool reproduces the books’ dimensions.
Technique/medium: 101 numbered books containing an original Part one, unnumbered exhibition copy. Book size 16 × 24 × 2.3 cm. Wenge bookshelf 235.3 × 16.2 × 26.3 cm (× 2.3 cm). Wenge stool 32 × 24 × 50.3 cm (× 2.3 cm).
Part one is literally about beginning. It consists of an ongoing collection of pages, mostly torn out of novels, featuring only the words Part one / Part 1 / Part I / part one etc. Arranged as a compilation of commencements: an endless book – simply because it doesn’t really stop or start, because it never stops starting.
We start things all the time. A train of thought, conversations, love affairs. Often we don’t even know how and when until it has already happened. It’s like lying in bed, trying to catch the moment when sleep comes over you. In fact ‘to start something’ describes much more of a process than just an onset.
This is what Part one is about. About collecting and not being able to track down where and when a collection starts, about failing to predict the moment it will stop. Because there is no such thing as completeness, because collecting always involves repetition. And because if you keep on repeating something, tracing it back to its origin becomes more and more difficult. Actually origins are afterthoughts, reconstructions, myths. Sisyphus pushing his stone up a slope, all the way up, until it rolls back down, must keep starting over and over again. His task is both hopeless and hopeful, but he has grown used to not knowing either the beginning or the end of his travails. As if there is not just one start, no ‘the’ beginning, but always one more.
Albert Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) was the first to add an element of hope, determination, even revolt to his punishment and the absurdity, making him the hero of repetition. In The Plague (1947), again, Camus tells the story of a novelist who spends his whole life and career writing the opening line of a book, and then dies. Here the romantic notions of the ‘fragment’, the ‘unfinished’ and the ‘absolute’, come into mind. The beginning and the end coincide.