When I received Meme Bartels first publication, mononchrome, it was difficult to sort out, is this presentation a book, a collection of booklets & bits or as Bartels has stated; an exhibition in a box? Each component of this collection is intended to provide a unique presentation, but collectively it creates a layered investigation about the routine aspects of living as well as the act of seeing.
The title of this publication, monochrome, means one color, or a single color, such as a green, yellow, black or red. Perhaps one color but she examines the variation and possibilities of a series of single colors. Bartels states “through the use of photography and colour the daily routine becomes a thing of intrigue”.
Her subjects are very close to home, or in the case of the bread slices, in her home as an aspect of her daily life (routine). She investigates the causal, perhaps the looking as described as non-looking, views of everyday life, versus a more focused and intense act of seeing, to observe all of the subtle and variations that occur about her from morning into the night.
Nevertheless, this publication is a collection of bits that are exhibited as single projects; Sesame whole wheatbread, Black Paradise, Non-chronological yellow tree and Shades of Green, etc. As a collection, it is a complex read as this contains a booklet, a reversible poster, a concertina folding and separate individual photographs, as well as being layered; as these are interrelated and intertwined around her general theme of the act of looking.
The one booklet of the Sesame whole wheatbread is interesting due to her selection of paper. The paper is not entirely opaque, in that the printed image bleeds through the back of the paper. Thus while reading the photograph on the following page (on the right spread), there is a ghost image that lurks on the left page of the spread. It is as if one is looking so intensely, a latent image is imprinted on the retina that is still retained after one looks away.
Whereas she investigates the daily routine, this collection is anything but routine.
As a book object, the outer portfolio casing is a stiff-cover paperboard folding enclosure that is fastened with a loose ribbon. Inside this portfolio is a booklet (soft cover, Japanese stab binding), a reversible poster printed on two sides, a concertina folding printed on two sides, six separate photographs with while margins on three sides, and a text insert (two sheets, folded, not bound) which in my copy was a text by Bartels printed in English.
Published by Sequence Publishing, Amsterdam, The Netherlands