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Hole in My Heart

By Kumi Korf
Ithaca, New York: Rikka Press, 2010. Edition of 20.

13.4 x 13.4 x 1.5" lidded box containing 12.75 x 12.75 x .5" octagon. Four triangles and four squares connected by hinges form a folding octagon structure with a hole in the center. Four 3.75 x 3"books with 10 leaves each slip into cavities that have been cut into the outside edges of the four squares. The squares and triangles are covered with papers that are Kumi Korf's intaglio prints printed by Christa Wolf on Akatosashi paper. Text is set in Electra and letterpress printed on Kitakata paper by Roni Gross. Box lid covered with a print with title inset.

By folding and twisting the octagon, multiple symbolic structures can be created. The hidden books contain poems by four Japanese court women who used poetry to fill the holes in their hearts.

Colophon: "The concept of this book, the structural design and the selection of the four poems from Japanese women are by the artist. The four poems are: Ono no Komachi (9th century), Izumi Shikibu (10 -11th century), Hachijo-In no Takakura (13th century), and Go-Saga In Chunagon no Suke (14th century).

"Across the centuries, their sorrow and sadness reach us in our hearts. Creating their poetry in turn, each one of them gracefully accepted the human condition. In expressing their grief, the holes in their hearts were filled with poetry and the play of words using 5-7-5-7-7 syllables of the tanka format."

Kumi Korf: "The women poets in my Hole in My Heart were women serving at Emperors' courts in order to make their wives' surrounding culturally glamorous. They had cubicles partitioned by screens made of beautiful fabrics. My structure of Hole has two distinct such cubicle positions – two cubicles each."

Marjorie Olds, "Hidden Books - Kumi Korf puts her feelings down on paper," The Ithaca Times: "When we discussed what is hidden from view in Korf's work, she described how what we feel and what we see are inextricably bound together: One of her artists' books, Hole in My Heart, is based on poems written by women in the ninth and tenth centuries. Many of the stories are woven into sad love songs. The book appears to have a hole in its center an that reflects the sadness in the heart of the poets, who nonetheless, despite their sorrows, went on to create the poems we still read."

Hole in My Heart

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