Selected Writing In Tongues

Siglio Press gets my vote for publishing the best books combining avant garde art with graphic design and typography. Last year I gave a thumbs up to Vincent Sardon’s The Stampographer and this year two more thumbs for Mirtha Dermisache’s Selected Writings. Similar in spirit to German conceptual artist Hanne Darboven (1941–2009), known for her handwritten tables of numbers and gibberish writing, the Argentinean artist Dermisache (1940–2012) produced “a voluminous body of illegible writings—drawings at the intersection of graphic, plastic, linguistic and literary,” notes the afterword in this book. In 1967 she produced a 500-page volume of scribbles likened to matted wool. She developed her own “lexical and syntactic structures.” And she “utilized easily recognizable communication formats (books, letters, texts, postcards, newspapers) as frames for the inscrutability of her writings.”

Dermisache wrote in 2011: “I develop a form up to its highest form of evolution. You will never find any title referring to feelings or psychological dimensions. Titles just identify the format, i.e., they tell how to organize writings on the paper and possibly their order of appearance in a given year of production.”

Selected Writings (edited by Daniel Owen and Lisa Pearson) and co-published with Ugly Duckling Presse) is the first collection to be published in the U.S. and includes sixteen texts and two complete books from the 1970s. This book is “designed to have a distinct kinship to a book of poetry.”


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