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The Nomad's Chair
by Angela Lorenz
 
Edition of 12 copies
8.6"x8.7"x1.9" box
Bologna, Italy, 1998

This work consists of 24 collographs sewn together with wool yarn to form, when opened, the reproduction of a 19th century Kurd tribal carpet, sans borders. In its vellum cover with leather labels and clothbound slipcase, the "book" has the appearance of a traveler's elegant 19th century exotic novel. Extracted from the case, the book unfolds panorama style to reveal a short poem, blind-stamped in letterpress, about nomads and rugs. The etching paper has been hand-dyed with tea, not only to evoke the desert but also to incorporate a substance and ritual central to the daily lives of many nomads. The two printed triangles now visible represent two nomad tents in barren surroundings as well as pyramids, often depicted alongside nomads in exotic 19th century illustrations. The rug slips out of its hide case to be viewed or displayed flat or vertically, on the wall.

The collograph plates were created using wall-to-wall carpet, not merely for irony or because the textures evoke the warp and weft, but because mass-produced goods have commonly integrated themselves into the daily regime of people leading nomadic and semi-nomadic lifestyles. The rug, the answer to the riddle of the title, lacks its border as nomads themselves have historically lived without them, choosing to ignore invisible borders created by governments. The test is embossed in the typeface Imprint as nomads leave their own imprint in their dry surroundings, in which they must read signs and clues invisible to most in order that they and their herds may orientate and survive. Nomads also have oral traditions as opposed to written ones, so a barely visible text seemed appropriate.

Each of the 24 collographs was created with two interlocking plates that were inked separately with up to seven colors and fit together again on the etching press, allowing for an elaborate series of colors with only two runs through the press per collograph.



 
TEXT
   
   

THE NOMAD'S CHAIR

The nomad's chair
moves from lair
to lair.
It does not
sail,
through the air,
like a magic
carpet,
but sways
along

Upon
a dromedary.
Or perhaps
by truck,
if the nomads
are on
migration
with a
new form
of automation.

The rug is not
just a seat,
but a table
and bed,
a practical choice,
it must be said
when supplies,
possessions,
armatures
and tack,

Bend
the camel's
back.
The first
folding
chair
was
of
animal
hair.