Elisabeth Tonnard
A Dialogue in Useful Phrases

A Dialogue in Useful Phrases is a book based on conversational phrases that were found in Grenville Kleiser’s Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases, an optimistic handbook from 1917 providing ‘felicitous expressions for enriching the vocabulary.’    Kleiser’s conversational phrases starting with ‘I’ were taken and placed opposite those starting with ‘you’. The ‘I’ phrases are running in alphabetical order down the verso pages, the ‘you’ phrases down the recto pages. A dialogue is formed from the random meetings of these phrases. It is a dialogue in the purest sense, a dialogue that expresses nothing other than itself. The book has a square format to indicate the empty room where such communications might be taking place.

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Self published
7.25 x 7.25 inches, 178 pp, black and white digital print, perfect bound, 2010
Edition of 250
42 euro

Available from the artist.


Elisabeth Tonnard (1973) is a poet and visual artist from The Netherlands. Her work is a contribution to the field of artists’ books, photography, visual poetics and literature. Books such as Let us go then, you and I, Two of Us, Contemplation, In this Dark Wood and The Man of the Crowd are included in numerous public and private collections. She holds an MA in Literature from the Radboud University in The Netherlands and an MFA from Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. She exhibits internationally.