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Tomb for 71 Volumes

Tomb for 71 Volumes

Paper and plaster, 2011


Courtesy the artist

"I attempt to (...) use the book as an armature, as the platform for a series of investigations into the physicality of those things which can only be shown". It remains a mystery whether the nature of the 71 books encased in the plaster of 'Tomb' matter. Is the sculpture a mausoleum to the multitude of books that have become irrelevant and lost forever? Should it be seen as a 'vanitas' warning of the folly of fame that grips so many authors? Is it an allegory of ignorance, of all the content that we, as readers, will forever lack.  Or are the books just used for bulking up the plaster and driving the shape of the sculpture.

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.