Słownik / Obscure Dictionary

Obscure Dictionary
Artist's book

hardcover: black canvas, embossing
end paper: hand marbled paper - ebru
headband: handmade
edge dyeing: handmade
3 satin ribbons
paper: alga bianco 90g
font: Corporate A BQ 
photographs: Lena Achtelik
photographs pages 14, 28, 42: Owen Phillips
4 loose intaglio prints attached
binding: Lena Achtelik
edition: 3

Obscure dictionary is an artist book, which may seem cool, scientific, tanathological approach. In fact, under the guise of raw diagrams and dictionary definitions lies a quiet melancholy caused by the loss, and the ascertainment that "death will remain beyond us." Book  refers to the type of thesaurus dictionary . However, it denies its utilitarian purpose, which is to define words, explain them to make them intelligible.
The starting point become word "obscure"  meaning something vague and used in situations where we can't describe or identify something. Latin "obscurus" means something dark, which in turn goes back to the Indo-European root word that was associated with covering something. Starting from a variety of synonyms of the word obscure, from the initial absence of a definition, cleared up, connected to each other,  a groups of meanings which I divided into four main groups, ie .:
1. vague  - the word resulting directly from the obscure words in his critical, uncertain, undefined, uncertain nature; gradually referring to something amorphous, ambiguous, mysterious, a secret, puzzle
2. hidden  -  covered, thus preventing of knowing, finally - buried
3. mist - grouping words for something nebulous, impenetrable, in the second stage bind to  white, gray, winter, also fading and ashes
4. dark - the words circling around darkness, shadows, lack of light and brilliance referring to the night and dusk, and then pointing to the gloom, sadness, mourning.
Finally synonyms for obscure words began to have closer ties with the dying, pointing to the real essence of the unknown - death. In this way, my dictionary linked to the cemetery as the book, text of culture with gravestones as its charts. 
            The language (synonyms of obscure and at the same time english words from poems of romantic period) and imaging (tombstone portraits) are the expression of death, yet incomprehensible phenomenon. It's not without significance is the fact, that the cemetery was introduced in the sphere of art by english poets, which were given the name of the ‘graveyard poets’). Words of the dictionary and their associated symbolic representation were comprised in graveyard poetry and were continued in the subsequent Romanticism poetry, in particular, elegiac compositions, which have also become part of the dictionary. Poetic  part of the dictionary opens flagship poem by Thomas Gray – ‘Elegy written in a country churchyard’ from 1751, contains almost all the mentioned symbolic. By nightfall, and inherent in the darkness and black, the surrounding space becomes unknowable, mysterious, opaque and uncertain. Silence is opposed to the sounds of life, dying of nature during the winter period with black, white and gray colors bring a feeling of emptiness and isolation in barren winter landscape. White refers us to whitening bones and cadaverous pallor, the impenetrable gray to fog, covering clouds, age and ash. Black is the colour of mourning and biodegradation.
Individual words, grouped in the dictionary and very often occurring in poems from XIX century, are listed as in the original poem lines and left at the original location in their verses. The words out of context still allow to read he atmosphere which accompanying poems, while leaving a feeling of detachment, isolation and decay. Poems are decomposed into words. The disappearance of words is a kind of gradual decay leading to the final silence.
            In the dictionary I regard photographs of gravestones as the words. For me representation of a person is a symbolic expression of something unspeakable, what I am trying to identify and define. It is both an attempt to restore and preserve the memory, which is doomed to failure, but nevertheless it is taken as an extension of their lives, and an expression of  compassion for nonexistence.

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