Wednesday, March 7, 2012

That Unbearable Lightness, Helen Malone

I chose this title as I enjoy trying to interpret feelings and intangible things. The sculptural structure I revealed in an earlier post refers to the physical symptoms of vertigo suggesting the spinning sensations, loss of equilibrium and falling over. I then started working with the psychological aspects of vertigo expressed in Milan Kundera's book The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I wanted to exploit one of the dualities in the book, lightness/weight, which could be seen as light/darkness or positive/negative, and used this as a design guide for the illustrations.

The upper side of the structure (the light side = someone seeking something higher) forms a circular image of tall buildings and sky, from the perspective of someone looking up and suffering feelings of vertigo. The lower side (the dark side and emptiness below) shows the perspective of someone looking down from the height of tall buildings to the street and central dark void, a traditional vertiginous experience. All of the characters in Kundera's book have feelings of vertigo at some point which is seen as a moment of weakness, and the dualities of lightness/weight, bearable/unbearable, being/non-being, weakness/strength, freedom and lack of commitment/weight of responsibility are ambiguous.

By juxtaposing the vertigo of lightness/weight from both sides, my intention is to pose the same philosophical question as Kundera's book - Is vertigo the lightness or heaviness of existence?

There is a glimpse of the book above and the edition of 15 is finished and ready to go. I have really enjoyed working on this edition and with a streamlined production process in place, making 15 wasn't tedious at all!

8 comments:

alison said...

Hello Helen,
I have just read your statement and I am impressed with your style of thinking and how you have pulled it together.

dinahmow said...

Me, too!
And I'm glad you had a smooth passage with the edition as I recall you had some concerns that you were not used to editions. Well done!

Fiona Dempster said...

Looks wonderful, and sounds like a perfect combination of things - I look forward to seeing (rather than holding) the finished book...

Abigail Thomas said...

wow, you are done? impressed!

Helen M said...

Thanks for your interest and support, Alison, Di, Fiona and Abigail. I'll be watching for posts about your books.

Angela said...

Helen this looks beautiful as do the boxes on your own blog. Would also be nice to say how you made them.

Helen M said...

Thank you Angela. I will do a post on my blog about the making of the boxes. I thought it was customary to post about the making of the book after they have been received by members of the group. Is this so?

dinahmow said...

To answer your question, Helen - yes, we usually do a full reveal once the books have been received. So as not to spoil the surprise, as it were.