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Blueberry Surprise

Blueberry Surprise

Joseph Grigely Blueberry Surprise 2003 Pigment print consisting of one continuous text of 45,000 words, written by those to whom the artist spoke. Each change of color (red, orange and black) signifies the switch to “a new voice talking”, always by unknown characters.

Edition of 12
72 x 50 inches (182.9 x 127 cm)
Signed and numbered
(Inventory #31921)

Joseph Grigely’s “Blueberry Surprise” consists of one continuous line of text (45,000 words in 5,000 messages in three colors) transcribed from written conversations that the artist collected for over ten years. Anything that possibly made the messages recognizable (attribution, handwriting, etc.), disappeared when they were transcribed. The transcription, though, does have the punctuation, misspellings, etc. of the original written conversations. The font used is known as “The Mix,” an appropriate metaphor for the range of people whose voices comprise the piece. The different colors (red, orange and black) of the sentences denote the switching from one “voice” to another. The arrangement of the text on the page explores ideas of continuity and fragmentation, thus representing the very flow of almost any conversation.

Looking at the Latin etymology of the word “text,” one comes to the verb “texere” meaning “to weave” or “to braid”. With Grigely’s “Blueberry Surprise,” we have a powerful collection of intertwined fragments, quietly playing with composition, patterning, rhythm and more. Even with all the “weaving”, it is quite challenging, on account of the inconsistent punctuation, to read the entire text out loud from beginning to end. So… is “Blueberry Surprise” a one-page book, devoted to quiet reading or perhaps a visualization of what a conversation looks like? Joseph Grigely eliminates the initial function of a daily communication tool and creates something new with it, revealing possible engagements that are absurd, hilarious, moving and/or profound.

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