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Tattoo, 2007

Hope College, Dupree Gallery

rubber stamps, ink, buttons, thread, stone on painted wall

 

Tattoo transcribes a passage from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick using rubber stamps of twenty-six alphabetic compositions inked directly onto gallery walls. The text alludes to a quality of indecipherability appropriate to the system of signs that I am using.

 

And this tattooing, had been the work of a departed prophet and seer of his island, who, by those hieroglyphic marks, had written out on his body a complete theory of the heavens and the earth, and a mystical treatise on the art of attaining truth; so that Queequeg in his own proper person was a riddle to unfold; a wondrous work in one volume; but whose mysteries not even himself could read, though his own live heart beat against them; and these mysteries were therefore destined in the end to moulder away with the living parchment whereon they were inscribed, and so be unsolved to the last.