Reculer pour Mieux Sauter: The Complete Work, Volume 1­–12- By Anne-Marie Levine

April 25, 2015
5:00 - 7:00

Reculer pour Mieux Sauter: The Complete Work, Volume 1­–12 is a mixed-genre nonfiction work by Anne-Marie Levine – a project which grapples with the artist’s complex (and often aggrieved) family and personal history across the 20th Century. Levine will read sections from the new hardcover volume, which incorporates her first two books and brings the multi-part series to conclusion.

Assembling photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, emails, found quotations, and original text, Levine creates a narrative in the form of a commonplace/scrapbook. The work is steeped in history but also immensely personal in its telling. Reculer opens in 1912 with a memo arranging for the return of the body of Levine’s uncle, who died on the Titanic a month earlier. Soon after we get notice of another relative who, years later, became the last casualty of the Belgian forces while ferrying planes home in the weeks following WW II. As Levine traces the course of several lives, other traumas find their place.

With The Complete Work, Levine carries the story into the modern era. Chronology is put aside and the work takes on a set of themes closer to her own life; Jewishness, womanhood, the difficulties and allowances of being a musician and writer. In seven new chapters, as well as prefatory material and an appendix, Levine also comes to reflect on the nature of the project itself. In Working Notes she looks to the work of writers, artists and thinkers like George Steiner, Joseph Cornell and Walter Benjamin (“the ones who are useful”) to consider possibilities for how an autobiography might best be told – taking generously from the fragments of the past, borrowing from the work of others before her and stitching it all together into a ‘coherent mosaic’.

Reculer Pour Mieux Sauter: The Complete Work, Volume 1­–12 is published by Project Projects, in an edition of 1000 (20 signed and numbered). Available here.