paris

Spread from Francesca Woodman’s Some Disordered Interior Geometries, 1981, photolithographic prints on paper, 9 × 13".

“Pliure: Prologue (La part du Feu)”

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation | Paris

Spread from Francesca Woodman’s Some Disordered Interior Geometries, 1981, photolithographic prints on paper, 9 × 13".

IN HIS COOLLY PRESCIENT 1964 essay “The Book as Object,” the French novelist Michel Butor surveys the architecture of the modern printed page: an ordered space wherein we continually rehearse a repertoire of gestures, generally without giving a thought to the codes and hierarchies that structure our experience. The reading eye swivels and scans along ordained perpendiculars, but intermittently conducts tangential assays of headings, page numbers, and marginalia. Hand and mind flit back and forth between pages, turning their flat sequence into a delicately twitching time machine. And at the literal center of the book’s mechanism is sunk the hinge that makes such movement possible. This spine is pivotal, and also obscure: “The seam, in the middle of the diptych, creates a zone of reduced visibility.” Little or nothing (not even a reader’s scribbled annotation) happens along this

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 2015 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.