In Against Decorum, Michael Hampton conveys a rich, centuries-long culture of book damage.
Against Decorum is an exploration of the many ways in which the physical integrity of the printed codex is put under strain. A connoisseur of the frayed, the scuffed, and the torn, Hampton describes ‘a new era of bibliographic unorthodoxy’ in which books are fallen things.
To these contemporary works Hampton brings a scalpel and excises a language of time-worn use. Hampton calls these excerpts ‘gleanings’, ‘trawlings’, and ‘shards’, among other things.
The result is a piling up that is a kind of poem built from a language of book damage…What we see is that books have never not been altered, and in place of the fantasy of the pristine volume, Hampton gives us an index—that is also a poem, and is also a manifesto—of handling, of wear and tear, of water-stained pages and insect damage.
Photocaption: Angus Fairhurst, A magazine — everything removed except 1cm border (2005); unique; cut magazine. Courtesy of the Estate of Angus Fairhurst and Sadie Coles, HQ, London