A Dictionary of Reading
By Matthew Aron
Chicago, Illinois: Arbitrary Press, 2007. Edition of 10.
5.25 x 8”; 16 pages. Handmade kozo and pigmented cotton fiber. Printed from photopolymer plates on Vandercook proof presses. Typefaces: Quadraat and Akzidenz Grotesk. Stonehenge cover with Japanese-stab binding.
This is dictionary as autobiography, as cauldron for both revelation and obfuscation. The words that appear, their definitions, and the witty self-referential delivery offer an allusive and illusive sketch of the "subject" (the dictionary-maker's term for himself). After defining pain and pleasure, the last pages are folded and bound to render reading difficult, if not impossible — unless you are willing to destroy the book.
The handmade paper and the letterpress printing add to the mystery.
Matthew Aron: "My work is largely an exploration of language and form. I am interested in how relationships, values, memories, and authenticity are all framed by our use of language – and the written word in particular.
"My projects often use the forms of ostensibly authoritative and objective texts (reference books, for example) to explore our subjective experiences. I frequently exploit the ambiguous and equivocal nature of language. I believe we can learn a great deal about our cultural identity from what we avoid clarifying linguistically.
"I use writing, hand papermaking techniques (such as pulp painting), graphic design, letterpress printing, and bookbinding to make books and other objects that explore the language we inhabit."