An installation that both examines and subverts the written word.
Tóth worked with cast-off library volumes – cutting, gluing, painting – in an installation that both examines and subverts the written word. He grouped books, arranged according to size, into pairs, threes, fours, and fives. He then painted them black and glued them shut.
I group discarded books of various authors . . . into pairs, threes, fours and fives, and on the maps that this makes, with concealed information inside, I paint in black a space for a new meaning. Black icons of emptiness.
In the 1950s, Czechoslovakia’s streets were full of words painted on banners with political slogans. These were the cruelest years of communist totalitarianism. The 1950s are the period of my childhood. For me they are the most beautiful part of my life. Can one bear a grudge against one’s childhood just because it took place against a background of lies?
“Dezider Tóth has been deeply involved with the word and its relationship to the nonverbal. He creates optical poems that express the silences that dominated his culture and his own life. Tóth’s childhood paralleled the cruelest years of communist totalitarianism in which Czechoslovakia’s streets were full of painted banners with political slogans. During this time he lived in a strict monastic atmosphere dominated by forbidden Catholic rituals. Believers secretly gathered at his parent’s home for the blessing of grain, the last rites, processions, pilgrimages, and baptisms. These events left a profound impression upon him, and he was greatly influenced by liturgical texts. As a child, he was fascinated with the power of the written word and voraciously read poetry, novels, and newspapers.” -Geraldine Ondrizek