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Idiot Compression

Idiot Compression

Paper, 2009


Courtesy the artist

This installation varies in size and form each time it is displayed. It consists of hundreds of sections of books cut into the spine. These fragments can be opened, leafed through and read, although the meaning is irretrievably lost. Amounting to roughly 20% of the original, they bring to mind the widely accepted notion that we only use 20% of our brain and maybe only retain 20% of any reading - if that. On the floor of Booth's Bookshop, resting upright, the miniature books defy our imagination by forming new constellations and evoking obscure narratives.

Jonathan Callan

Jonathan Callan's work is driven by a fascination with materiality. Often accumulative in process, the works confront the endless interiority of objects. Preoccupied with language and its limitations, Callan often works with text - books, maps or photographs - as a source material. No longer a secondhand carrier of information, text is turned into an object of first experience. His methodology consists of amplifying the physical aspects of the object by embedding or dissolving until the original form is barely identifiable. Through this sometimes violent, often obsessive process, Callan develops a system of inquiry, which both drives the work and generates meaning.

His work is included in numerous private collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The British Museum, London, The Henry Moore Institute, South London Gallery, London, and Whitworth Gallery, Manchester.