“Life and Death” of the author through a mishap of language

by Kelise Franclemont and Marcin Czarnopyś

Kelise and Marcin began their Connection in April/May 2016, corresponding by email and postal mail, exchanging ideas through images, letters/cards, and drawings. In October 2017, Kelise travelled to Wrocław, where Marcin lives and works, to spend several days working together on their proposed installation for “Connect: London and Katowice” exhibition and workshop in London (December 2016).

Together, they devised “Life and Death”, which took the form of an archive display of found objects that were also the subjects of a short film, shown together in the December exhibition at Ply Gallery in London.

The main object in the installation is an old book “Neueste Nachrichten aus Dem Reiche Gottes”, or as Google Translate suggests: “Latest News from the Kingdom of God”, found in an antique bookshop in Wrocław. Immediately, the two set out to discover the identity of the unknown author, a mystery all the more tantalising because neither Marcin nor Kelise can read German. Even without knowing the author, Kelise and Marcin decided it was appropriate to honour his work with a burial ritual.

Later at Ply Gallery, it was a chance conversation with a German-speaking visitor through which Kelise and Marcin discovered “Bierzigster Iargang“ is not the author’s name as we had mistakenly understood through an innocent mishap of an unknown language; rather these two words vaguely identify context about the book. Besides, Marcin observed with a laugh, who would name their kid 40th Edition?

Thus, the film and related archive describe the “Life and Death” of the book itself – and the author is nowhere to be found, relegating him (or her) to anonymity forever.



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