This Artist’s Book originated as a commission from the BERLIN NATIONAL LIBRARY for the UNHEIMLICH-FANTASTISCH Project, a yearlong commemoration of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s bicentenary.
Rather than illustrating Hoffmann’s texts, the book presents an imaginary stroll through his “corridors”, jammed with his diverse obsessions. The subject of this extended engraved reverie is the multiplicity of Hoffmann’s interests, the constantly changing worlds within a story, so typical of his creative process. In this book it is the etchings that are “read” to perceive those transformations.
Fabric may seem strange here, but less so when you know that silk was quite in vogue for printing etchings in northern Europe, during the nineteenth century. Also, as Hoffmann was unlucky with money all his life, I chose to offer him a rare edition, on an unfamiliar, deluxe material.
Readers of Hoffmann will recognize many themes from his tales or from his life. But in my engraving work I tried to reach a balance between the known and the unknown. Thus, reading this book requires time — for the eye to wander around the page, to find its own rhythm of perception, and for readers to let themselves dream, in Theodor’s company.