Detail from the section discussing meter (Book IIII) of Aldus Pius Manutius’ Latin grammar entitled Aldi Manutii pii Romani grammaticarum institutionum libri IIII (Venice: Aldus [Paulus Manutius], 1564). First printed in 1501 (Venice, Aldus), this book saw many editions and continued to be printed into the 17th century.
Janet Malcolm, Three Collage pieces from the “Emily Dickinson Series”, (2013)
The collages that make up Janet Malcolm’s melancholic Emily Dickinson Series, look on first view like leaves from some late Victorian archive, though the field of science or art to which they belong remains unclear. Certain motifs recur: vintage photographs of the 1874 transit of Venus, a rare astronomical event when the planet Venus passes directly between the sun and the earth, resembling a beauty spot traversing the face of the sun; a photograph of a bearded astronomer identified as David Todd (“the depressed astronomer,” as Malcolm came to think of him), who photographed the transit of 1882; gnomic passages by Emily Dickinson in typewritten transcriptions; and, finally, sheets of brownish transparent paper, of the kind once used to protect art books, variously folded and draped like veils across portions of the works.
Malcolm’s collages are parsimonious with color—They also eschew the Surrealist temptation—exploited by Max Ernst and Hannah Höch, and later by the West Coast collagist Jess—to elide disparate images in ways that create the illusion that they are linked in dreamlike ways. They also eschew the Surrealist temptation—exploited by Max Ernst and Hannah Höch, and later by the West Coast collagist Jess—to elide disparate images in ways that create the illusion that they are linked in dreamlike ways. Malcolm prefers an art of juxtaposition, documents and photographs placed side by side as though for inspection.