Miss Pumpernickel Bread
Book, 21 cm x 14.8 cm, 410 p, language: English, publisher: The Center for Three-Dimensional Literature - David Colosi (self-published by the author), ISBN: 9781105541810.
Materials: ink, paper
Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2025/522).
“Soup is Served!” the call goes, and the reader finds Miss Pumpernickel Bread naked with a ladle serving an entire town from her bathtub. The final portion, which has been absorbed by her body, she serves directly from her bladder into the bowl of a seven-year-old boy. Amidst a standing ovation, Kevin eats his soup, Miss Pumpernickel Bread dies, and a legend begins. Kevin’s stomach becomes the site of a personal and social identity crisis that not only causes a lifetime of psychological indigestion but also captivates the media and bolsters the economy of newly named Souptown. David Colosi launches his cartoonish literary satire at religion, the economy, and the media like a Brothers Karamazov cocktail. In a blast of opposing ideologies where objective truth is replaced by fabricated confusion, the reader sits in the dust with only one faith restored: fiction is the only truth worth believing in. Though completed in 1997, Sarah FoldEconomy’s "greater purpose" to bring down the twin towers of Capitalism and Christianity, the political and ideological strategies of the GPPP, and the aggressive politicization of Miss Pumpernickel Bread’s body resonate with recent parallels. Reminiscent of novels by authors such as Robert Coover, Italo Calvino, and Ishmael Reed, the seriousness with which this novel takes its comic execution places it on the bookshelf somewhere between The Adventures of Pinocchio and Foucault's Pendulum; Alice in Wonderland and Infinite Jest; and Tristram Shandy and House of Leaves.
Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice
David Colosi writes fiction, poetry and essays, and he makes sculptural installations. He explores art and literature separately to hone his skills, and for some projects he unites them in multi-media installations and performances. Colosi calls his unified art practice "Three-Dimensional Literature". When he builds a Three-Dimensional Literature project, he writes the text and builds the installation simultaneously. Neither illustrates the other; the evolution of one informs the other. Separately, they are distinct artistic products. Together the experience multiplies, for example, when the story is read inside the installation space. The artistic product moves to a conceptual space above the words and objects. The emphasis shifts to the connections and misses between the words and objects and to the gaps and flows between the narratives imbedded in each. When Colosi conceives of these works, he explores different forms of literature – short story, novel, poetry, memoir, newspaper article, philosophical essay, comic strip, and etc. – and visual art – conceptual, painting, sculpture, video, crafts, and etc. The architecture could inform the choice of literary genre or vice versa. Though Miss Pumpernickel Bread is a stand-alone novel and has no installation partner, it is a novel built sculpturally with shifts in time and space, and it juxtaposes “found” formats to tell the story, similar to the way an installation would juxtapose found objects. The narration swaps between an omniscient narrator, a collection of folk tales, newspaper and TV transcripts, obituaries, poems, and a biblical format.
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