WHITE BOOKS - Chiara Nicolini, 2016
Lorenzo Perrone’s “White Books” are mesmerizing book-sculptures representing each a concept or evoking an image. He has been making them for thirteen years. They are real books treated with water, glue and plastic, combined with other materials and then finished with a final coat of white paint. In 2013, Perrone has also begun to sculpt White Books in bronze.
On the occasion of the 4th centenary since the death of Shakespeare, the artist has created a series of about forty White Books inspired by the Bard. The only one in bronze is a beautiful volume with pages browsed by the wind dedicated to Cleopatra and to her longing for immortality. Bronze may last up to 3.000 years and is of course more suitable than paper to represent eternity.
Perrone turned other leading Shakespearian characters into books: Caesar is a tome stabbed to death Macbeth, an enchanted wood that sprouts from the pages of an open volume; King Lear, words and lines that melt away like endless tears. Shakespeare himself, an inexhaustible source of inspiration, is a high pile of books topped with shooting sheaves of wheat.
But perhaps Perrone gives his best when his White Books become the breathtaking embodiment of an abstract idea, such as the Sonnets, seen as a large open volume (100 x 70 cm) studded with 154 feathers. The levity and richness of this work, its soft nuances of white, make one think of an otherworldly Muse.
Another large open tome (70 x 50 cm) has its left page covered with lines of words and the opposite right page entirely blank: it visualizes Ophelia’s statement “Lord, we know what we are, but not what we may be”. A disheveled book with its pages loose and sticking out is an evocative representation of the restlessness of Sonnet 27 – “Thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind, for thee, and for myself, no quiet find.”. The remains of volume – a binding from which the text block has been brutally ripped away – are the perfect embodiment of Hamlet’s last words: “The rest is silence.