Ever wondered what a book would look like if it sat in a stream of salt water? Well, today’s your lucky day! Tacita Dean has answered the question for us in her artwork titled ‘The Book End Of Time’ (2013). She has taken J G Billard’s book ‘The Voices Of Time’ (written in 1960) and has left it underwater for 6 weeks. The result is stunning – a crystallised, shining fragile object that has been documented using photography to avoid breaking it. The piece has been used in her recent film artwork ‘JG’ which compares the writing of J G Ballard to Robert Smithsons ‘Spiral Jetty’.
When I saw this image, it struck me as beautiful and delicate. I once had a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ stuck in the apple tree of my childhood garden. It had rained and all sorts of nasties had sheltered amongst the pages making the book unreadable and in a way, turned it back to nature – this reminds me of that, I could look at it for hours.