The Dark Object

Katrina Palmer


Book, 13.1 x 19.4 cm, 117 p, language: English (UK), publisher: Book Works, ISBN: 978 1 906012 22 9.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2024/842).

Literary synopsis

The Dark Object exploits sculpture’s awkward relationship with conceptualism through the pseudo-conceptual ideology of a fictional institution. The Rector’s paranoid ideology has prohibited the making of objects, one student remains. Increasingly isolated in The School of Sculpture Without Objects and battling with institutional directives and solitary confinement, Addison Cole exercises the prohibition on making things by writing stories, in which the protagonists only meet through the creation of fantasy scenarios. These narrate a series of explicit encounters with texts, objects and artists. Authorial figures are reduced to their pornographic effect: Slavoj Žižek becomes an impotent sexual metaphor, Hegel a skeletal spectre, the anonymous ‘Jay’, Žižek’s lactating Oedipal fantasy, the Rector a scrofulous, paranoid leech.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

Whilst studying for her PhD in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, Katrina submitted samples of her writing to Book Works open submission series, Semina, commissioned by Stewart Home. When this submission was accepted the text was drawn into two separate formulations: The Dark Object , and then the thesis. As a consequence, certain sections of The Dark Object appear, in an abstracted form, in the thesis. Part of the rationale of The Dark Object , is that it operates in the everyday as a novel in bookshops and on invigilation desks, but it is also research, and an artwork, so in this sense, like a found object, it should move between appearing as art and disappearing as an ordinary thing in the everyday.

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