Eleven Rooms
By Emel Thomson Chicago: Emel Thomson, 2016. Edition of 25.

8.25 x 5.75'"; 38 pages. Materials: silk thread, human hair, beeswax. Printing: digital offset color on matte white paper. Pamphlet sewn binding in paper wraps. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Emel Thomson: "In Eleven Rooms, I examine the relationship between language, form, context, and displacement. I appropriated excerpts from three literary works and used these excerpts to create a text-based version of the 2015 Doris Salcedo retrospective at MCA Chicago. The three texts I draw from are Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Anne Carson’s Glass, Irony and God, and Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin. This project explores the interaction between the work of three writers and an artist, and the tensions between reality and imagination, language and visual art.

"The appropriated texts were determined through chance operations, a technique used by many artists including John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, and André Breton. It is a method where I abandon and reclaim control, to bypass the conscious mind and open the artwork to unexpected outcomes. I determined the text for each page by using a predetermined set of rules to preclude personal selection.

"Synchronicity between text and sculptural themes occur surprisingly often throughout the book, such as Virginia Woolf’s line in room 11, 'he must pluck the petals from a rose.' The installation in room 11 is a shroud composed entirely of rose petals."