Revising Ghosts, Erasing
Text, Revisiting Books
November 5, 2022
Delicate, sparing and playfully disruptive, Lesley’s Poltergeist Library exhibition at Yale University showcases the uncanny plasticity of what is written in ink and sealed by bookplates in the archive stacks. Throughout the collection, texts and images are exposed to various deconstructions revealing their essential instabilities. Carefully poised, Invisible Archives exemplifies the joy of this engagement with surreal whimsy. Where the images emerge, haunting the careful eye, as viewers we are made privy with each piece to the affair of ideas, forms and emotions which transpire behind our backs while reading.
Though the popularity of books continues to wane, content consumption swells. But in spite of its technological coming of age, the internet remains primarily a text-based, graphical medium of exchange. Through pure volume, stories are generated by the repeated impressions of faceless algorithms writing on the wall. As though we too are the ghost writer’s medium, information is processed through our consumption until plots appear. New media literacy (or lack thereof) has replaced basic literacy as the most important tool for our functional futures.
Even if you never read another book, take OR’s ghostly intimacy or the wryly subversive Men Of as a challenge to notice what the observer brings to—and what occurs in the shadows of—the text or graphic event. Which poltergeists bang the pipes below the floor while we entertain memories of old books? And who or what shakes the furniture about during visions of our daily content?
Dustin works from a place of deep respect, equally mindful of the viewer and the artist, and how to channel the connection between them through the work itself. He is brilliant at shaping the written context and curating pieces to create a generative, dynamic viewing experience. Sometimes my thinking can be cerebral and inaccessible, but through our conversations over the course of three months Dustin was able, again and again, to seemingly mind-read, translate, and partner with my imagination in a way that I honestly never thought a person could do. A careful listener and astute observer, he took in every word and saw possibilities and clarity where I did not. It was such a special and profound experience, and it made me all the more invested in my creative process, the work that results from it, and what that work has to offer my audience. I’m a better artist now than I was before working with him, beyond a doubt.
Lesley Finn | Collage, Erasure, & Book Artist