Ex-votos: altered books
Linda Toigo, UK
|A series of three altered copies of
The Outline of History by H.G.
The English science fiction writer, not satisfied by the quality
of educational History books of his time, wrote his personal contribution
to the History of the World: while I was
wandering around second-hand book shops, I found three different
American editions of his texts and I decided to transform them into
objects that would carry a sacred symbolic value.
I titled my three books after the ex-votos, votive offerings that
cover the walls of certain little churches in devoted communities,
mostly of Southern Europe and South America. It is a very intimate
and traditional way to communicate with the supernatural that has
always impressed me.
My intervention consisted in printing old medical images of hearts
directly on the pages and in carving the books with surgical cuts
that would reveal the volumetric and material quality of the objects.
This treatment, of course, doesn’t allow the text to be completely
The words and images are still there though: they interact with
the added images creating new patterns on the altered paper.
Milestone events in Wells’ History
are evoked by the names, the fragments of maps and the portraits
that survived the cuts and that can be found when flipping through
the scattered wounded pages.
In the three books, History doesn’t follow a chronological
order: the eye is drawn through the holes and deep into the space,
carved away by the scalpel, to create connections between events
otherwise distant, allowing the reader to experience a dynamic and
organic way of conceiving the evolution of the World.