Audun Mortensen: Unread Items

8. 10. 2013 - 10. 11. 2013

Opening: 8. 10. 2013

Curator: Hana Buddeus

Centre for Contemporary Art FUTURA, Holečkova 49, Praha 5


In the frame of Fotograf festival


Only historians and other specialists will be obliged to learn reading and writing in the future.

– V. Flusser

For the desire to read, like all the other desires which distract our unhappy souls, is capable of analysis.
– V. Woolf

And the non-reading of books, you will object, should be characteristic of collectors? 
This is news to me, you may say. It is not news at all. Experts will bear me out when I say that it is the oldest thing in the world.
– W. Benjamin

With Unread Items, Mortensen continues to explore the possibilities of not reading. The most radical of which is not to open a book at all. For any given reader, however dedicated one might be, such total abstention necessarily holds true for virtually everything that has been published, and this in fact constitutes our primary way of relating to books. Consequently, unless you abstain definitively from all conversation and all writing, you will find yourself forever obliged to express your thoughts on books you haven't read.
The works assembled in the gallery—such as an index for a not yet written Bildungsroman and a book sculpture comprising 10 editions of a Lonely Planet City Guide—ask visitors to imagine modes or strategies for unreading. Even in the case of the most passionate lifelong readers, the act of picking up and opening a book masks the countergesture that occurs at the same time: the involuntary act of not picking up and not opening all the other books in the universe.
"The informatic revolution makes print, the alphabet, and this kind of thought superfluous," the Czech-born philosopher Vilém Flusser wrote in 1987. "It leads to a new mode of thought that can be anticipated but not yet perceived. That sounds like an assertion, but is really a concerned and hopeful question toward the future." 
Audun Mortensen (1985) is a Norwegian author and artist living in Oslo. He has published six books of poetry and fiction. Recent group exhibitions include Ed Ruscha: Books & Co, Gagosian Gallery, New York City (2013); The Art of the Joke, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen (2012); Stream of Consciousness, Galleri Krets, Malmö (2012)