Four or Five Roses
139 pp., 4 x 7 in, 20 color illus.
- Published: September 5, 2003
- Publisher: Sternberg Press
- Rights: not for sale in Europe or the UK
So far, the work of Austrian artist Peter Friedl (*1960) has managed to elude stylistic classification. Investigating the social, political, and cultural realities at work in institutionalized practice, his projects have been called “conceptual, aesthetic acts”—usually they are subtle forays into institutional criticism with political insight.
Four or Five Roses continues Friedl's exploration of the stereotypical language of the monologue genre. The book contains some 45 children's “monologues,” edited by the artist from numerous interviews and conversations recorded on playgrounds in South Africa. Faithfully transcribed and translated into English from different South African languages (Afrikaans, Northern and Southern Suthu, Zulu, Xhosa...), the “edited monologue” then becomes a hybrid genre, both fictionalised speech and serious counter-voice. What is ultimately at stake is how discursive strategies operate as a political tool, endlessly reshaped and manipulated for the sake of persuasion. The texts are accompanied by color illustrations of the actual South African playgrounds.