Formofabsence-Catalog-Cover Form of Absence: Radiographs | Paintings | Reliquaries Form of Absence: Radiographs | Paintings | Reliquaries eloquently documents the artwork comprising the 2013 installation Form of Absence, installed in the Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, Florida and includes five unique critical texts. Wilson Baldridge, Judith Birdsong, Levent Kara, Robert Macleod and Ignacio Porzecanski write about their experience of and with the work; Michel Deguy’s poems Antepurgatorio and Timberline preface the book in a correspondence with two artworks. Rather than review, the authors engage the installation as a threshold for departures; the diverse texts range from quasi-fiction to musings on the history of beauty to a voice message.

Jointly published 2015 by the USF Contemporary Art Museum/Institute for Research in Art/Graphic Studio and the USF School of Architecture. Format: Hardcover, 32 x 28cm (12 ½ x 11 in.), 104 pages, five-color offset printed on 170 gram varnished Fedrigoni Symbol Tatami Ivory paper. Printed in Ljubljana, Slovenia. ISBN 978-0-9860767-1-8.

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About the authors:

Michel DeguyThe Cella Was Empty, Antepurgatorio and Timberline—one of France’s most influential intellectuals and her foremost poet-thinker-translator, was born in Paris in 1930. He is professor emeritus, Université de Paris VIII; founding editor of the award-winning magazine Po&Sie, the most prominent French journal of poetry and poetics (since 1977); and past president of the Collège International de Philosophie. His extraordinary output includes these most important recent works: N’était le coeur (Galilée, 2011), Écologiques (Hermann, 2012), Commesi Commeça (Gallimard, 2012), and La Pietà Baudelaire (Belin, 2012). Following the notable Fénéon, Max Jacob, and Mallarmé Prizes, in 1989 he received the Grand Prix National de Poésie; in 2004, Deguy was awarded the Grand Prix de Poésie by the Académie Française.

Michel Deguy’s poem “Antepurgatoire” first appeared in La Quinzaine littéraire (May, 1986); it was reprinted in Deguy’s 1990 volume, Arrêtsfréquents (Paris: Métailié, p. 112). This previously unpublished translation is dedicated to Paul O. Robinson in gratitude for his reading of Recumbents and in particular his visual interpretation of “The Cella Was Empty.”

“Lisière” first appeared in a letterpress volume titled Interdictions du séjour (Paris: L’Énergumène, 1975); it was reprinted in the 1978 collection: Jumelages, suivi de Made in USA (Paris: Seuil, p. 28). Also dedicated to Paul O. Robinson, this previously unpublished translation is one voice in the conversation among artist, poet, and translator on the topic of art and space.

Robert M. MacLeod: A Simple X-Ray. Robert M. MacLeod—curator of Form of Absence—is Professor and Director of the University of South Florida School of Architecture and Community Design. Professor MacLeod has been simultaneously practicing and teaching architecture since his education at the University of Florida and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He was appointed director of USF School of Architecture in 2009. His professional office has developed design work in the southeastern US, Indonesia and China and has received multiple Design Excellence awards. MacLeod’s research focuses on urban design and community planning issues within the “unfinished project” of the contemporary city.

With A Simple X-Ray MacLeod renders an insightful introduction to the work, its inherent contradictions and its relationship to source materials.

Judith Birdsong: Let the Strangeness First Feel Like Beauty. Judy Birdsong is a photographer and designer currently lecturing at the School of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin. Her written and photographic work speculates on the interplay between culture, the natural environment, and built form.

Let the Strangeness First Feel Like Beauty is a quiet argument demonstrating that meaning can lie in the unstructured spaces between things and that our humanity is inextricably bound with our capacity to fill those spaces with wonder and marvel.

Ignacio Porzecanski: Five Times Three. Ignacio Porzecanski is an environmental ecologist. Formerly a photographer with a degree in Agriculture; he has a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Cambridge (1972), managed two large farms in Uruguay and did plant breeding research in Brazil. Since 2004 he is a Lecturer at the School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Porzecanski’s work in ecology and his collage art explore different paths to knowledge, as he believes that humans may be evolutionarily “hard-wired” to understand the world around us. In this quest—expressed in Five Times Three—the sciences, art, and a myriad of other engagements show that this understanding may be fickle, controversial, and confusing, but that it is also perennial, essential and whimsical. The need to search, to be contested, and to search again arise as desirable pluralities of meaning.

Levent Kara: Not From Scratch: The Sweet Moment of Discontinuity. Levent Kara, Phd in architecture and is a professor and practicing architect in both Turkey and the US. His writings range from formal philosophical subjects in epistemology, aesthetics, and culture theory, to architectural design, theory and criticism, and architectural pedagogy.

In Not From Scratch Kara reflects on the epistemological ramifications of Robinson’s work by elaborating on the disjuncture he sees between the ​work’s generative references and its textual structures. Rather than looking for meaning or a history to the work, Kara articulates upon a field of phenomenal experience opened by the objects exhibited. Weaving between possible other readings and his own, Kara’s Not from Scratch: The Sweet Moment of Discontinuity​ joins the work itself in a kind of self-referential freedom.

Wilson Baldridge: Voice Message. Wilson Baldridge is professor of French & chair of Modern and Classical Languages at Wichita State University, received his doctorate from SUNY/Buffalo.His articles and translations have appeared in many journals and collective works in France and North America. He composed the biographical section of Les écrits de Michel Deguy and participated in all three international colloquia on the French poet’s work. His translation of Gisants (= Recumbents), together with the interpretive essay by Jacques Derrida, “How to Name,” came out in 2005 (Wesleyan UP). His research agenda includes “Savoir, inventer,” in the Grand Cahier Michel Deguy and “Lumière etrévélation dans Sans retour” in Michel Deguy, l’allégresse pensive. His chapter titled “Reprise de Jumelages” is forthcoming in a collective volume: Michel Deguy à l’oeuvre.

In “Voice Message,” Wilson Baldridge offers a quick graph in response to the digital version of Paul O. Robinson’s Form of Absence seen as a radiographic revision of the Logos, our key relic: resurrection, here, would mean reference lost and recaptured. Robinson had taken Michel Deguy’s poem, “The Cella Was Empty,” as point of departure; now, in return, the translator interprets Robinson’s enfolded reliquaries as a wailing wall of silent imagery: the visual lamentation of a textured surface.