I always have a dozen or so books on the go. Some I read from cover to cover, usually novels, some I dip in and out of, moving backward and forward across pages and chapters. Some of my books I’m part way through, on the way to the end, I might never open them again once I’ve read them. Others, I’m forever in the middle of, never to finish but always to return to.
The books I’m reading stack gradually, rising from tabletops, floors and desks. Their simple proximity and the incremental development of their layers suggest connections, associations and new directions – a slow stratification of ideas and interests, precipitating like stalagmites. All they need is time and a kind of studied lack of attention.
For Out of Focus I’ve scanned the pages of these books, the place I’m up to. Some of them I’ve already read more than once; some I’m halfway through; some I’m opening daily; others haven’t been returned to for a while; but they’re all definitely on the go – unlike my other books that stand upright on shelves and simply aren’t in the same way. The only thing not represented here are the numerous magazines and journals that always punctuate my reading – they wouldn’t fit on my scanner.
Martin Clark is Artistic Director at Tate St Ives.