Künstlerin: Andrea Hoelscher
Honeyed Words, 2021, Pigment Ink Print on Cotton Rag Paper
What are honeyed words? We utter them to attract, seduce, and to draw our loved one closer. They slide easily off the tongue, with the intention of melting the heart, and the resistance, of our love object. Their sweetness satisfies a heart hungry for affection.
“Honeyed words” in English is a phrase that can also mean words of flattery and persuasion. These words are not always sincere. They may merely be sweet nothings intended to change someone’s mind and heart.
I snipped the words in this photograph from a cheap romance novel bought in a secondhand store. Its pages were full of honied language, sweet, but never fully satisfying. I submerged them in a jar of honey, where trapped within its amber bubbles they float free of real sense or meaning. They drown in the cloying sweetness of the thick honey.
This series of photographs is an expression of love for books and language. Weekly visits to the library were an important ritual of my childhood. More recently, I inherited several books passed down through generations of my family. With their weathered covers burnished by the touch of long-lost ancestors, they are among my most treasured possessions.
I photographed many kinds of books, precious tomes from a monastic collection to cheap paperbacks. Sometimes I approached the books as sculptural objects, using light and camera angle to emphasize their forms or textures. In others I accentuate the printed words. For example, in Between the Lines, I cut and layered two paragraphs from a 1950s guidebook on dating. The words collide and reveal new meanings.
Compared to the glow of a computer or phone, the book can seem like a remnant of the past. But this once revolutionary technology endures. Books allow us to enter other realities, gain understanding, and transmit our stories through time and space. My hope is that these photographs inspire a renewed curiosity and reverence for the printed word and the book.