The Universal Now: Vintage Book Plate Collages
By Maria Popova
Nearly two years ago, we looked at examples of exploring layers of the present through images of the past in Photographic Time Machine. In The Universal Now, UK artist Abigail Reynolds takes this approach to an entirely new, more conceptually elaborate and aesthetically sophisiticated level. She collects vintage tourist guides, then search for photographs taken from a similar vantage point and printed at similar scale. When she finds these matching book plates, she cuts and folds the pages into a single surface, arranging the images in chronological order based on the publication dates of the books, with the first serving as the “base” of the collage.
The Universal Now works operate as a resurrection of the unregarded book plates and forgotten photographers that have stood in the same places at a different times, bringing these moments into a dialogue and into the present.” ~ Abigail Reynolds
The Universal Now takes its name from the world of quantum physics and its debates about the nature of the time continuum, which only adds to the project’s thoughtfulness and conceptual merit.
More of Reynolds’ inspired work can be found in The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography, a fantastic anthology you may recall from pickings past.
Published February 11, 2011