"The current permutation of The Reader, originally envisioned as a black and white book, expanded in size and breadth to its current full color version to take into account the range of expression in Touchon's asemic explorations spanning forty years of works on paper including images from Touchon's unpublished sketchbooks.
The first section of the book primarily contains palimpsest based asemic writing originally intended for mail art correspondence in which Touchon overwrites texts as found in 19th and early 20th century antique poetry books, a book of sermons, farm journal pages, a postcard, a grade school autograph book page, a sheet of music, a page from a vintage high school chemistry workbook and old invoices. Using these found papers collected for possible collage material, Touchon retains and uses the structure on the page and the patinated paper as inspiration for these asemic works often overwritten with india ink and quill pen. Following these are selected typographic abstraction works from the Fusion Series, Touchon diary-like ongoing series of collage works begun in 1983 and continuing to the present. In these works Touchon uses a wide ranging body of materials, approaches and techniques to produce these poetic works that explore figure and ground relationships and a variety of compositional strategies. These collages become studies for Touchon's paintings. In the midst of this group are a series of asemic 'songs' on torn brown paper using colored pens, pencil shading and white pencil highlighting that express the idea of visual musicality. At the end of the typographic collage works there is the image of a labyrinthian network of overlapping white lines over a black void that seem to float on multiple levels. This opens the way to a set of works of brush and ink from 2009 on the pages of a single antique journal where the markings are painted onto the leaves of paper and after a few moments the pages were held under running water in the kitchen sink. Whatever ink had dried remained on the page leaving gray ghost marks where the ink had been washed away. The book concludes with a variety of works from the late 1970's examining Touchon's early mark making based on language or visual musicality.
Taken as a whole, this sampling of works across forty years of Touchon's oeuvre reminds one of a quote from the 1949 'Lecture on Nothing' by John Cage: "I have nothing to say and I am saying it..." but in Touchon's case he possibly is saying nothing about Something; perhaps a something so transcendent that common words cannot speak of it, something so vast that words crumble into gibberish and collapse into an unutterable silence. Some of the titles of previous exhibitions of Touchon's work suggest this such as: 'Beyond Words', 'Reduced to Silence' or 'The Unspoken Remains'. Yet Touchon's works are not nihilistic in nature. They could be said to be meaningless though clearly not purposeless. Touchon has said that his interest is in expressing 'the underlying universal harmony of all things'. One has the impression when studying these works that literary meaning has been removed or obfuscated but in Touchon's view he sees his work as liberating language from its work as bearer of meaning and by extension liberating the reader from the work of deciphering meaning and from the obligation of being literate when enjoying the works purely for their aesthetic value. In a world whose population is engulfed in a deluge of information that we must continually navigate, these works offer a small oasis in which one might be refreshed along the seemingly endless journey over the shifting sands of data on the horizons of which can only be seen mirage and simulacrum."
- Paperback: 126 pages
- Publisher: Post-Asemic Press (August 22, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1732878897
- ISBN-13: 978-1732878891
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces
- Price: $30.00
Click here to purchase The Cecil Touchon Asemic Reader
A torrent of creative dynamism, The Cecil Touchon Asemic Reader comes at you in three waves: asemic overwriting of print, usually on antique pages; the elegant typographic collages for which Touchon is best known; and layered linear screens that seem to exist in a receding space. Through these variations, the book challenges us to rethink in depth our conceptions of surface, a thinking accompanied by wordless pleasure.
—Peter Schwenger, author of Asemic: The Art Of Writing
Touchon’s Asemic Reader is an important and inspiring book, and it calls to all schools of thought. The invitation here is to experience new dimensions of the present moment. Touchon’s captivating letter play and use of asemic writing makes him a true explorer of the invisible script.
—Sam Roxas-Chua 姚, author of Echolalia in Script (Orison Books), and Saying Your Name Three Times Underwater (Lithic Press)
The three layers/styles which build this book are as different as the reader or viewer’s reactions and observations which the layers imply & help create.
The first series of works deals with an intriguing enigmatic silhouette, a shape and idea of time past. The calligraphic lines or typographic erasures or deleted music notes tell us intricate stories and talk to our perception according to the antiquity of the paper they’re written on.
The second series shows broken letters, cut ones, like in a labyrinthine re-/de-organization of a stray alphabet of imagination. These well known and highly appreciated works by Cecil Touchon proudly belong to a tradition one can maybe connect to the names of Adriano Spatola and Edwin Schlossberg.
A third little series introduces the viewer to an even wider range of codes, involving abstract movements of curls, curved signs, naturally evolving from the previous pages, as to mark a fascinating link between the fragmented alphabet letters and numbers, and a liquid set of traces impossible to grasp, yet still grasping our eyes.
—Marco Giovenale, author of GLITCHASEMICS (forthcoming from Post-Asemic Press, in Spring of 2020)
The Cecil Touchon Asemic Reader is available worldwide on the following links:
Amazon Germany (Deutschland)
Amazon Japan (日本)
Amazon Spain (España)
Here are some sample images from The Cecil Touchon Asemic Reader:
Cecil Touchon (b. 1956) was born in Austin, Texas; grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri and currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Touchon, who enjoys an international reputation as a contemporary artist, founded the Ontological Museum and its publishing arm: Ontological Museum Publications. Aside from his artistic career, Touchon curates art exhibitions, writes poetry and publishes books. Touchon's interests and associations include the Collage/Assemblage community, Fluxus, Massurrealism, Neoism, Post-Dogmatism and the Mail Art community.