Posts for October, 2012


11/10/2012Spring Snow − A Translation


I visited Printmakers Edinburgh yesterday, to see ‘Again, A Time Machine’, a Bookworks touring exhibition. In it I found an intriguing little book by artist Alison Turnbull: ‘Spring Snow − A Translation’ (2002).

On the book, from Book Works website:

‘Alison Turnbull takes Japanese author Yukio Mishima’s novel Spring Snow as a starting point to produce Spring Snow − A Translation, which is literally a visual translation ordered by colour. Drawing on Mishima’s evocative use of colour in the novel, Turnbull condenses the narrative into a colour palette. Working from the English edition, she isolates and orders each of the more than six hundred colours as they appear in the text − what emerges is a visual essay on the nature of translation.’

Looking at these beautiful pages of colour palettes, I wished I could read the original book (translated to English obviously) so that I could compare it to its translation into colours.

Novelist Tony White wrote a pseudo-fictitious introduction for the project. The introduction uses cut-ups from various sources and in his text Alison Turnbull herself appears as a fictional character who lived in Japan and died in 1973. Very confusing to the unsuspecting reader (yours truly)… it has also confused the British Library, who attributed authorship of the book to the fictional ‘Alison Turnbull’, rather than to the real Alison Turnbull who is very much alive. You can read more on this on Tony White‘s blog.

The book was designed in the traditional Japanese novel bunko format by James Goggin.

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