jan davis solomon qca exhibition 2017

visual language

Jan Davis
Australia

Solomon (1995)
SOLOMON is made up of seven volumes. It developed out of Davis’ concern with the operation of space in visual imagery and her interest in writing which exhibits a distinctly visual component and draws on the heritage of the experiments started by Mallarmé.
As with most books the title is printed across the spine, but here a single letter in capitals is isolated on the spine of each of the seven volumes to spell out
(S – O – L – O – M – O – N). Isolated, each letter carries more power than the whole. The seven volumes explore language and space in the context of the Solomon Islands and combine certain aspects of concrete poetry with historical and contemporary images and texts.
In ‘S’ the subtitle (‘name’) establishes ‘naming’ space – ‘space’ as in creating an expanse for language to operate and ‘space’ as in naming of a space in order to possess it. The three ‘O’ books are interchangeable yet linked. ‘O’ (‘corpus’) is about head hunting, singing, indigenous spirituality and the absorption of Christianity. ‘O’ (‘eat’) draws on the coconut. It underlines the importance of the coconut and the palm tree in a pre-colonial, pre-diesel society. At the edge of the sea, stacked on their sides, rusted oil drums contrast with the blue of the water and sky. In bright yellow the letters C O C O appear on four of the lids and symbolise both ‘domination’ and ‘loss’; dominate/lost (culture), dominate/lost (language). SOLOMON was produced from photographs taken in the Solomon Islands, which have been digitally manipulated and printed on a bubble jet printer. Seven volumes housed in slipcase. Signed and numbered inside back page of ‘N’. Each volume 13.5 x 13.5 x 1.4 cm in box 14.6 x 13.8 x 9.5 cm. Edition 9/10. The artist. Photographer Carl Warner.
Ref:
Grahame, N 2007, ‘the book the poet, the artist and the breakthrough’, in R. Tipping (ed.), the word as art, Artlink, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 68-9 (illustrated).
Grahame, N 2015, Une histoire du livre d’artiste australien, grahame galleries + editions, numero uno publications. p.13 (illustrated p.12).
Menz, C 2000. ‘Jan Davis’, in S Runde S Soltek & C Menz (eds), Craft from Scratch, Eine Spur von Handarbeit, 8. Triennale für Form und Inhalte – Australia and Germany, Museum für Angewante Kunst. p. 65 (illustrated)
Collection: Centre for the Artist Book, grahame galleries + editions