Tattoo

1995 / Series of 3 / Flax paper, eggshells, ink tattoo, magnet
Size: 4" x 4" x 4"

Tattoo is an early example of artwork that tries to encapsulate an artist book and I did so, through the object’s materiality. It has an eggshell mosaic covering its outside and a pulp-sprayed flax paper with embedded half eggshells within. When the viewer opens its cover, the half-shells fill its inner volume. The idea of the "book" is effectively defined by this small book-object: a container of precious information, symbolized by the egg, another precious container.

One added complexity is that the box can reverse itself so the paper with embedded eggshells becomes the outside. This option reverses a book’s protective role, due to its fragility & sense of exposure.

When I editioned the original artist proof, I added another layer to its content, by writing numbers on several of the shells’ surfaces. Suggestive of the tattooing of numbers in WWII, this provocation questions how a number can further extend meaning.