Rendering of Writings

Rendering of Writings
London, 2004

Part I: Rendering of writings by Yuhannah Mirza Ben-David Dawud, researcher and poet, illuminated by the divine light of passion of comprehension through preparation of
black and golden signs of the concealed wisdom of ancient manuscripts,
impenetrable for those uninitiated into the art of memory and interpretation;
who died in London’s borough of Highgate in 1969, of illness and old age
and also unable to part from his collection of last year newspapers,
which  served him as bed linen and blanket,
which he has accumulated during his travels to the East, when he still was a young man,
but became such a miser and niggard that no one wanted to talk to him,
and he was only able to talk about his weary books
and he died alone

The work is founded in the story of Yuhanna Dawud, a British (of Jewish-Persian origins) collector of Islamic art. Beginning as a passionate researcher of Persian manuscripts, he ended up obsessively cutting and reassembling the original books. He died in London in 1969, in the age of 85. By that time he was very ill, lived alone in an indigent apartment. One room for himself, three others for his collection and archive. He did not part from even one item to improve his conditions.
What was he thinking of, looking at, sensing? I do not know. Neither can I read the inscriptions on the dispelled fragments of the manuscripts, as I do not know the language. I can reconstruct his tale using the details which his archive supplies: the cracking walls of the untidy room, the mouldy bread on the chair, the golden medallions on the pages, the curly black letters, the shiny sharp blade.
In my collages, discarded vinyl flooring serves as a ground; its tactility reminds of earth and of skin. Mounted on it there are cut-outs of my earlier work; photographs – from the archive of Dawud and my own; pieces of materials I have collected for their textures; fragments I have painted over with gold and colours. The accidental and the intentional, texture and image coexist on their surface.
Dispersed fragments unified by the passionate destructive gesture that created them; inscriptions and details, often impenetrable and coded, but always eloquent, persuasive and contained in their materiality.  As a scintillating reminiscence which brings up to the surface one brightest detail, but no context which allows to assign it a meaning.  As an accidental pile of turbid recollections, unspeakable, but sensible, entangled in the weary net of the consciousness.
The abstract notion “text” acquires flesh and is redistributed physically by Dawud. Reality is transformed from its physical state into fleshless image, code, text in the memory. An authoritative hand rewrites the text of the real and, in case the recalling person has a propensity to paper scribbling, applies this text on paper, which in its turn is ready for cutting, in order, again, to be transformed into recollection, code, text.
Discarded vinyl, roof felt, asphalt, wallpaper, flooring rubber underlay, other construction refuse, glass patina of 13th century crusader’s vessels, textile, metal thread, felt, gold leaf, black and white photo-copies, C prints, ink, acrylic, plastic, polystyrene, hardboard, steel, pins.
Sizes: wall C – 3.75 x 2.4 m, wall B – 2.8 x 2.4 m, floor collage A – approx. 3 x 3.5m, spikes – 1.6-1.8 m.

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