I want some more (temporary, impulsive) art on my walls. Sticking things on Pinterest is ok but it’s not the full deal. I saw somewhere a wall with pages from a book, an art book, ripped out and stuck up. It’s daring, I thought. It looked great. It felt right.

Book spine
I picked up some art books, for free, when Sydney Uni library was clearing out. I figured they would be ok to pull apart, I didn’t pay for them and if Sydney Uni was giving them away, well, they couldn’t be worth much. Tonight I pulled down a Capogrossi book. I don’t know much about Capogrossi. In fact, I know nothing. I brought this book home because I looked at the paintings and I liked them. There’s always later to find out about someone.

It’s a large book, written in Italian, and the title is printed bottom-to-top on the spine, which is split. There is no dust jacket, the cloth cover is faded and the board is bent. The call number is stamped into the spine and there is a Fisher Library book plate stuck to the inside cover, stamped with ‘Cancelled’. It’s ok. No library needs this anymore. It’s damaged. It’s formally discarded.

I turned over the pages, looking for the ones I would rip out. There are many images I like, many that prick something inside me and just make me look.

But I can’t tear the pages out. Not tonight. A book is a whole and who am I to break it apart?

I need to get past this reverence, this respect for rules, even those that exist only in my own head. Did anything ever get done when someone obeyed all the rules, and made up some besides?

(Update: I have found one copy of this book available on Amazon. At $680. So perhaps I’ll find another to tear apart…)

Book plate
Book plate


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