The Athenæum of Borges [2004]


mixed media [each book: 24in x 18in x 6in]

My love of Jorge Luis Borges (the preeminent master of the short story) is matched only by my veneration for the shear genius of the books he wrote about but that never existed. Pure brilliance. Fabricated with a nod to Joseph Cornell (another perennial favorite), these  are my own attempts at depicting how phantasmal tomes might have appeared.

An athenæum is a fancy, though antiquated word, for library, and it is here where the teachings of literature, science and art are said to have taken place many ages ago. In some curious way, this place that has now faded from memory is exactly what Borges writes about: stories (with their attendant books, landscapes, and libraries), that have no physical existence, yet govern realms of the fictive and imaginary.

The books that comprise the athenæum are:

• The Science of Forgetting

• The Biology of Lock-picking

• The Geography of Spagyrics