Burmese Letters. 2003

Moriarty Gallery/ Madrid/ 2003

Private collection

Triptych (30 x120 cm c/u)

Photogravure on 17 starched linen handkerchiefs.

 

 

The seventeen linen handkerchiefs each folded into the shape of an envelope are presented in an ordered alignment in three vertical display cases. The handkerchief-envelopes are open at the back and show fragmentary information inside, where signs, writing, and graphics are juxtaposed. The arrangement of the envelopes in a regular sequence is interrupted by an empty space.

The absence of one of the envelopes reminds us that the information is incomplete and that it is with difficulty that we could access the intimate and private space that the letters represent. Only in a fragmentary way, establishing links among the contents of the different handkerchiefs, we reconstruct, more than a story, an atmosphere of a time when the experience of a journey was synonymous with expedition and adventure.

Walter Benjamin, in his account The Handkerchief, reveals to us the veracity and the key to the story narrated by an old sailor who sees a waving handkerchief while the port of Barcelona moves away, and it is in this precise moment when focusing his binoculars that the writer recognises, in a corner of the handkerchief, the emblem of its previous enigmatic owner.

In Burmese Letters too, when we focus our sight on the textile surface of the handkerchief collection, additional information appears.