Sibyl's Mouths

Sibyl's Mouths

A Pure Fiction Publication

Edited by Rosa Aiello, Ellen Yeon Kim, Erika Landström, Luzie Meyer and Mark von Schlegell

Introduction by Pure Fiction

Textual and visual ephemera along with performative documents stemming from a reading of Mary Shelley's 1826 novel The Last Man.

Distributed for Sternberg Press




Textual and visual ephemera along with performative documents stemming from a reading of Mary Shelley's 1826 novel The Last Man.

Mary Shelley's novel The Last Man tells the story of a great plague that ravages the globe and forever alters human history. Shelley structured the novel as a reconstruction of text fragments, prophetically written on leaves found scattered in a cave near Naples, left there by the Cumaen Sibyl, the ancient Greek priestess who served as a mouthpiece for the gods. Because the novel offers inescapable parallels with our own present day's great plague, the Pure Fiction group approached this work as a way of shedding light on larger contemporary cultural crises. The contributors' texts and their adjoining ephemeral counterparts—specially commissioned for this publication and the synonymous performance series at the Kölnischer Kunstverein—reflect on themes such as the weight of the past, solitude, our zeitgeist's radical shift in “intimacy,” repetition, and precariously living on our epoch's edge, all of which are framed in The Last Man's radical fictive rejection of romanticism.

The Last Man: Shifting Theater utilizes Shelley's framework of textual and conceptual fragmentation, layering, and adaptation, like prophecies found on scattered leaves in an ancient cave—or more apt to our current time: like the ideas articulated and metamorphosed through aesthetic media. The publication will link Shelley's narrative framework with the interdisciplinary nature of the Pure Fiction's program debuting first at the Kölnischer Kunstverein in the spring of 2022.

ContributorsRosa Aiello, Ellen Yeon Kim, Erika Landström, Concha Mendez (tr. by Aislinn McNamara), Luzie Meyer, Vera Palme, Elif Saydam, Mark von Schlegell, Mikhail Wassmer


$32.00 T ISBN: 9783956796449 120 pp. | 5.5 in x 7.75 in

Not for sale in Europe or the UK.


Rosa Aiello

Rosa Aiello is an artist and writer working with video, photography, text, sound, and installation. Her video works have been shown at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Cell Project Space, London, Bureau des Réalités, Brussels, and Kunsthalle Zürich, Zurich, and are held in the collections at the Whitney Museum and Centre Pompidou.

Ellen Yeon Kim

Ellen Yeon Kim works as an artist and writer working through different methods, including theater, comedy, installation, and drawing. Yeon Kim studied at Hochschule für Bildende Künste–Städelschule in the class of Peter Fischli and Simon Starling and graduated from the Slade School of Art, UCL. She was awarded The Peter Mertes Stipendium in 2021 and has been a part of Kölnischer Kunstverein Atelier programme since 2019.

Erika Landström

Erika Landström is an artist and writer working in performance, installation, and sculpture. She graduated from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste–Städelschule in 2015, where she studied in the class of Judith Hopf. In 2018–2019, she attended the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program in New York.

Luzie Meyer

Luzie Meyer is an artist, poet, musician, and translator based in Berlin. She studied Philosophy at Goethe University Frankfurt and graduated in Fine Arts from Hochschule für Bildende Künste–Städelschule in 2016. Her work has been shown at FANTA, Milan; Pogo Bar, Berlin; Efremidis, Berlin, Bel Ami, Los Angeles, Sweetwater, Berlin; Kölnischer Kunstverein; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. In 2018 Meyer was awarded the studio residency of the Hessische Kulturstiftung at the Cité internationale des arts, Paris in 2018.

Mark von Schlegell

Mark von Schlegell's experimental writing practice has been crossing genres regularly, into literature, theory, science fiction, art, film, criticism, comics, performance and theater, since 1992. He has taught literature and art at CalArts, the San Francisco Art Institute, and Städelschule, Frankfurt.


Pure Fiction.