Stefana McClure; Reconfigured Books

Distillation of time, obliteration and reconstruction of information, characterize my drawings and sculptures. The work has a self-structuring methodology: visual form being determined by the process by which the work is made. 

For the past decade or so I have been deconstructing books (often lengthy ones such as Herman Melville’s Moby Dick or the same ‘80’s edition of Rand McNally’s Reader’s Digest Atlas of the World) reconfiguring them as continuous balls of string. For this body of work, I have always been drawn to material so compelling that it constitutes a complete world unto itself. Reviewing Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage in The Washington Post, Marie Arana describes the novel as being “as tightly wound as a Dashiell Hammett mystery,” rendering it irresistible. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass and Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle were also natural candidates. To make these sculptures, I take the book apart, page by page, and cut it into even strips, the width of which is determined by the scale of the text. It is a laborious, time-consuming process and I often find myself re-reading the text, if only to keep track of my progress. I will usually have decided in advance the information I would like to appear on the outside of the ball —typically identifying characteristics such as ISBN, title, author’s name, copyright, date of publication, publisher’s information, and maybe a prototypical passage or significant illustration — and I will put these pages aside before slicing up everything else, sticking it all back together again as a continuous length of string, and beginning to wind. To keep the paper cuts at a minimum, I wear gloves for this part, and wrap the paper tightly. Once the ball is almost complete, I cut up the pages I have reserved for the outside and add them, finishing by hammering in a couple of pins to keep the paper ribbons in place. 

unnamed (2) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, two books by Lewis Carroll, 2012, cut paper, 34.5 and 35.5 cm circumference

Style: "Neutral" Map of the World (Central Europe), 2006, cut paper, 56 cm circumference

unnamed (5) Map of The Universe, 2009, cut paper, 65 cm circumference



Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, in 1959, Stefana McClure received her BA from Hornsey College of Art in London and continued her studies at Kyoto Seika University in Japan. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Bartha Contemporary, London (2009, 2013, 2017); Sleeper, Edinburgh (2017); Arróniz Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2015), Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York (2006, 2008, 2011, 2015); Dublin Contemporary, Dublin, Ireland (2011) and Kunstverein Grafschaft Bentheim, Neuenhaus, Germany (2006). McClure has also been included in numerous museum exhibitions, most recently Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA (2017), Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH (2017), Kunst Palais Liechtenstein, Feldkirch, Austria (2017), Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA (2016), Art=Text=Art: Private Languages/Public Systems, UB Anderson Gallery, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (2014), Simply Drawn: Gifts to the Columbus Museum from the Collection of Wynn Kramarsky, Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia, Contemporary Monochromes, Contemporary Galleries, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013), Drawn/Taped/Burned: Abstraction on Paper at the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY (2011); Wünsche und Erwerbungen, Zeitgenössische Zeichnung, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2010); ALL OVER THE MAP, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI (2009); BLOWN AWAY, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (2008); and Uncoordinated: Mapping Cartography in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH (2008). Her work is included in many public collections including: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; The Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; and Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA.

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