R. H. Quaytman, "Point de Gaze, Chapter 23"

R. H. Quaytman

"Point de Gaze, Chapter 23" (2011)

R.H. Quaytman is a painter, but she might as well be regarded as a book artist. That is most readily evident in the fact that, to this day, she has arranged her pictures in chapters. This places all of the American artist’s works in interrelation: each new picture responds to its predecessor, even if it also possesses its own point of departure. Their interplay recalls the way languages work: individual words form a sentence, sentences add up to paragraphs, and paragraphs to chapters. Yet pictures, even more than concepts, are often polyvalent, and so Quaytman’s works constitute a code that unfolds a range of possible readings.

For Texte zur Kunst, R. H. Quaytman has created an object that takes up the design of a book cover. Two motifs appear on the outside, one each on the front and the back; a single motif covers the entire inside. The title, “Point de Gaze, Chapter 23,” refers to the group of paintings the artist is currently working on, and designates a form of Belgian needle lace shown on the back cover. The front contains additional references to Belgium: the woman’s strange hat suggests ornate skull reliquaries created by Belgian Beguines in the fifteenth century. This allusion fits with the words “Sister Scholastic,” the name of a medieval mystic. The headdress returns on the inside, now concealing the head of a human being so that only a naked torso is visible. Scars beneath the breast suggest a sex change has been performed. An abstract vertical pattern also sections the figure. Above the photograph, a line of text quotes from the refrain of a song sung by the Edelweißpiraten, an antifascist resistance group in Nazi Germany. The elements of the collage, that is to say, superimpose different ideas about religious, political, and sexual convictions, weaving them into a subtle and highly associative fabric.

For Texte zur Kunst, R. H. Quaytman has designed a double-sided book cover entitled "Point de Gaze, Chapter 23", 2011. The silkscreen measures 31,5 by 51 cm and is produced in an edition of 100 + 20 APs. Each copy is signed and numbered and costs €245 plus shipping.