THE WORLD EXISTS TO BE PUT ON A POSTCARD
2013 by Simon Cutts
Simon Cutts’s art invites us to a place where the lines between ‘a work of art’ and print overlap. Books have been considered art for decades; before the printing press any illustration would have been an original, and it is words on a page that inspire some of our most intense imagination. Cutts harnesses this powerful medium to create artworks that require this different level of interaction. In the 1975 work Poinsettia, Cutts made his ‘book’ out of a white box, which conceals two ‘pages’ (seemingly made of clothing name-tape) suspended by string – the left reading in green ‘my favourite flowers’ , the right in red ‘are leaves’; an image could not have better conjured this eccentric plant. THE WORLD EXISTS TO BE PUT ON A POSTCARD is just as powerful, suspending this loaded phrase in the centre of one of the most influential forms of material communication. The phrase is emphasised through its being built into its very medium – the black embossed lettering is carved into the thick pulp of the paper, so thick that the letters remain invisible on the other side. These words are given weight, as the postcard stands stiff in our hand. As people take pains over selecting a postcard that represents something – whether it be a holiday, a sentiment or exhibition – Cutts has cast the world as a selection of loaded images, ripe for the printing. Cutts is playing with a phrase of the French poet Mallarmé, “…que tout, au monde, existe pour aboutir à un livre” – everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book – which, printed on the back of the card, reflects that often the world does seem to exist just so you can tell someone about it. Immediately evocative of the countless images that we’ve ever wanted a postcard of, Cutts’s card could be sent to anyone.