Nick Thurston
Reading the Remove of Literature


By removing Blanchot’s text, Thurston paradoxically gives us Blanchot’s work; he presents rather than absents language. The book proffers the gift of theft. Which is as much as any work of literature, in Blanchot’s definition, can do.… Countersigning Blanchot’s text, Thurston also forges his name. Whiteness, witness: the proper genre for Reading the Remove of Literature may be portraiture.” – Professor Craig Dworkin, Univeristy of Utah.

Reading the Remove of Literature is a reading of Maurice Blanchot’s seminal book The Space of Literature, performed on the page as an annotative writing that encircles the should-be space of print. Through the progressive appropriation and then erasure of Blanchot’s text, and through a processual transposition of hand-writing into formal typography, Thurston has conceptualised and produced an astounding new book. The meaning of the candid reflections and meditations which form the incisive marginalia is founded in a tension with the suggestions of the absent text. Floating alone these annotations may have little worth or make little sense, but between these covers they do not deny the history of their derivation: They are constantly anchored by that which is missing, in a creative erring, in a process of over-coming, which in this book asserts an equality of presence between the read and the written, the reading and the writing. At once poetic and philosophical, Thurston’s work is an intervention into the book as a space of knowledge that renders productive the paradoxical relationship of the artistic act and the art work – the very question of the possibility of literature that obsessed Blanchot – contained simultaneously by the edges it continues beyond and the bind(ing)s that hold it together and hold it still.

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Published by information as material
15.3×229cm, 288 pages, black and white, 2006
Edition of 750
£15.99; $27.00CAD

Available from information as material

Nick Thurston (b.1982) is a conceptual artist and writer whose primary concerns are the use of languages and the possibilities of languages. Thurston explores modes of reading, in both literary and ‘fine art’ contexts, in such a way that the two coalesce as one praxis of poetics. He is author of Reading the Remove of Literature (2006) and Historia Abscondita (An Index of Joy) (2007), and co-author of THE DIE IS CAST (2009), plus numerous journal articles and artists’ pages. He has performed or exhibited internationally, including presentations at Printed Matter, Inc. (New York), Bury City Museum (Bury) and the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven); and since 2006 he has served as the Editor of the independent artists’ book publishing imprint information as material (York). His work is to be featured in several forth-coming anthologies, and his next print editions have been specially commissioned by the Laurence Sterne Museum and the French Centre for Artists’ Books.

information as material was established in 2002 to publish work by artists who use extant material – selecting and reframing it to generate new meanings – and who, in doing so, disrupt the existing order of things.