New "Translation" for Proust at Artscape
Artists competing for this year's $25,000 Janet & Walker Sondheim Prize at Artscape have found artistic potential in dirt, recycled materials, barren parking lots and a polar bear’s heart rate, says Baltimore Sun reporter Tim Smith. One entry really caught my eye: Molly Springfield's reconsideration of Marcel Proust. Here's how Smith (who also writes the Clef Notes blog) describes it in a story about the six finalists:
Proust’s multivolume novel À la recherche du temps perdu — commonly known in English as Remembrance of Things Past or In Search of Lost Time — is daunting enough to read. Consider what Springfield has done in a 28-drawing art work called “Translation.” The 31-year-old D.C.-based artist gathered copies of the existing English editions of the first book in the Proust series, Swann’s Way, and photocopied the first chapter of each one, two pages at a time.
“Then I put together my own translation,” Springfield says. Mixing the photocopies from the various editions, she painstakingly re-created those pages by hand in graphite, like a monk copying a book in the Middle Ages. Each distinctive typeface is captured; underlining or notes penciled in the margins by Springfield in any of the books used before the photocopying are, in turn, reproduced again in the final art work.
“I tried to create the actual experience of recollection, in the way the novel does,” the artist says. “Repetitions and omissions that happen from page to page parallel the experience of remembering.”
The winner of the Sondheim Prize will be named by a jury on July 11. The finalists' works are on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art now through Aug. 2
Baltimore Sun photo by Lloyd Fox