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Large Installation

About the Work

When You Read This consists of a full-size suspended bedroom floor. The underside is covered in my handwriting and is a translation from French into English of the handwriting recently discovered during renovation work of the underside of a floor in the Chateau de Picomtal in the French Alps. The author, who was also the floor's carpenter, signed himself as Martin Joachim. He dated his writings 1880 and 1881.

In a series of tell-tales, Martin reveals what is going on beneath the surface of his village, truths he now renders literally. His main topic is the hypocrisy of power, seen through those employed in important positions by the church and the state. Their greed for money and exploitative sex appears insatiable. Martin also writes about poor villagers afflicted by incurable physical or mental conditions and his community's utter dependency on successful harvests. His characters are Chaucerian. Martin notes the beginnings of the modern world - the demolition of medieval walls, the arrival of the railroad and the creeping curtailment of the power of the church by the French state, all of which he welcomes.

When You Read This, takes its title from the opening lines of what is essentially his confessional for the whole village. He relishes the prospect of his targets treading on their secrets without realising it.

Ultimately Martin comforts himself with the fact that long after he and those he writes about are dead, we will discover his secret writings and the truth will finally be out.

″I still use the same approach to my work: I get an idea, think of the title and then make the work. So not much has changed since 1964″

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