Books As
Aesthetic Objects
A unique collection of contemporary
rare books The core of the original
gift to FAU in 1998

Tear Here

By Brandon Graham

Artist book; tear here; brandon graham; 2007(Click to view larger image)

"Tear Here started with taking a set of military uniforms, cutting off the arms and legs, and lashing them back together with red thread. Then I took digital images, tore at the seams, and visually documented the seams ripping apart...

"Using the structural vocabulary of the codex, Tear Here explores the ways in which the conflict in Iraq tears away at the bodies and the lives of those soldiers who serve in the U.S. military."

Having this kind of information from a web site (that even includes several photographs of the book) should be all we need for its interpretation, but holding it in my hands almost four years after the date specified in the text (December 11, 2006) increases its power. Today, February 24, 2010, the toll taken on the military as well as on the civilians of Iraq and Afghaistan has increased exponentially and shows no signs of abating. Anti-war documents are many and powerful; this one is stirring both visually and textually. Its creativity works on many levels: the concept of tearing, the photo-montage material, the tag-ends of threads that escape the pages, the uncased format, even the folksy ‘fiction’ of the text add to the reality of the unfinished horror it describes.

Judith Klau