With Unread Items, Mortensen continues to explore the possibilities for not reading. The most radical of which is not to open a book at all. For any given reader, however dedicated one might be, such total abstention necessarily holds true for virtually everything that has been published, and this in fact constitutes our primary way of relating to books. Consequently, unless you abstain definitively from all conversation and all writing, you will find yourself forever obliged to express your thoughts on books you haven’t read.
The works assembled in the gallery – such as an index for a not yet written Bildungsroman and a book sculpture comprising 10 editions of a Lonely Planet City Guide – ask visitors to imagine manners or strategies of unreading. Even in the case of the most passionate lifelong readers, the act of picking up and opening a book masks the counter gesture that occurs at the same time: the involuntary act of not picking up and not opening all the other books in the universe. Faced with a quantity of books so vast that nearly all of them must remain unknown, how can you escape the conclusion that even a lifetime of reading is utterly in vain? How indeed might we begin to read (or write), or continue doing so, without an ideal image of a perfect book – one congruent to ourselves, that is – which we endlessly seek and constantly approach, but never reach?
This exhibiton was a part of Fotograf Festival.