Selected by... Lorenza Longhi

Installation view of the book on Lorenza Longhi's couch sculpture

Carlo Emilio Gadda, L'Adalgisa, 1944

Misuses of languages and an abundance of mixed strategies

Carlo Emilio Gadda always wrote his books using a very special mixture of international official languages and official dialects. (He was an engineer and a writer.) In this book, which tells the stories of a few Milanese petite bourgeois characters, many ways of using daily expression are at play. It was called pastiche and it’s barely comprehensible, but it stirs very vivid feelings. I’m interested in the German translation. Maybe all that remains are the dull stories of his characters, which are ultimately very flat without all the weird wording in which they’re told.


 

Installation view of the book, and Longhi's own annotated copy, on Lorenza Longhi's couch sculpture

Anne Boyer, Garments Against Women, 2016/2016

«It’s a book about seeking to find the forms in which to think the thoughts necessary to survival, then about seeking to find the forms necessary to survive survival and survival’s requisite thoughts.» (the publisher’s text).

«But who would publish this book and who, also, would shop for it? And how could it be literature if it is not coyly against literature, but sincerely against it, as it is also against ourselves?» Anne Boyer

Many things that happen here too. And in all the other books. (I can’t really explain the whys of why poetry acts so perfectly)

«
But Garments Against Women exists because I failed. I failed to find the literature I needed, so I had to try to write it down. I failed, also, at refusal, failed at failing, failed at self-negating, failed at being ruined despite all that would ruin us, failed at keeping survival bare, failed at obeying history’s prohibitions, failed at being intimidated by the centuries of hostile traditions. What I failed at was not writing despite all the conditions that had been relentlessly calibrated to keep not writing sustained.» Anne Boyer

Blueprint magazine open on to an advertisement with the words 'You don't want any part of your building to end up looking like a toilet, do you?'

BLUEPRINT Magazine

I found a bunch of these magazines at a book thrift store, took photos but didn’t buy them. When I came back to buy them, they were gone, then the buyer put them on Ricardo so I bought one from there.

It’s a magazine from the ‘80s, British, about the latest trends in design and architecture. The graphic design and the wording it uses seem to shout all the content out loud. As if it talks to you in between the noise of the city. Trying to convince us maybe?

Nonetheless, I always find these outdated communication strategies worth a second use. Do they still work? Why then? 

 

The book held aloft in the exhibition

Giovanni Della Casa, Galateo

Galateo - which means Etiquette was written around 1550. Its also called Courtesy Book or The rules of polite behavior. Giovanni Della Casa (28 July 1503 – 14 November 1556) was a Florentine poet, writer on etiquette and society, diplomat, cleric and inquisitor.

I’ve never read this. But many people do or at least did, and obviously, many of those good manners are still valid – for some. Manners and structures, and politely ignoring them. 

At least one scholar has suggested it was written by the author as a joke but somehow it became a standard text in some European schools.

Installation view of the book on Lorenza Longhi's couch sculpture

Lina BoBardi, Stones Against Diamonds, 2013

«Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992) was a prolific architect, designer and thinker, whose work, absorbing her native Italy and then after 1946 her adopted home-land, Brazil, spans across architecture, furniture, stage and costume design, urban planning, curatorial work, teaching and writing.» (publisher’s text)

Again, a book I found at a book thrift shop by chance that became very important for me. Again, it’s a pastiche of many, many things and has a certain degree of tolerance for imperfection and all that comes with it.


Words and images by Lorenza Longhi unless otherwise specified