In the past, Josef Strau has often worked with text, whether using it in conjunction with other media in his artworks or producing it in his extensive writings. His project for Manifesta 7 is conceived in homage to Jacob Marcaria, typesetter and printer to the Council of Trent.
In reward for his work for the Council, Marcaria, who had the status of an underground figure in the predominantly Jewish book production business of his day, was allowed to continue his active trade in new Hebrew texts of poetry, literary narrative and theological commentary. He set these startling works using a particular typography to achieve imaginative and abstract effects with pure letter forms. Meanwhile, the council was turning Trento into another kind of campus, as new buildings were covered with wall paintings commissioned to depict the Catholic imaginary. This praise of the image stood in contrast to the institutional darkness of the ritual of confession, in which personal tales of transgression were strictly confined to the confession box. Accordingly, Strau’s project attempts to appropriate all these traditional forms of textual presentation: the theological procedures of both mystical and confessional writing by means of typographical elements, and a narrative distributed as printed poster, like an old-fashioned public announcement.
PALAZZO DELLE POSTE, VIA S.S. TRINITA’ 27, I-38100 TRENTO, ITALYmore