Daniel Birnbaum, Sven-Olov Wallenstein
|Roee RosenThe Blind Merchant|
Foreword by Joshua Simon
An artist book juxtaposing text and image, history and its revision, The Blind Merchant was produced from 1989 to 1991. The work is composed of three elements: the complete text of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice; a “parasitical” text written by Roee Rosen that runs alongside the play, adopting the perspective of the principal antagonist Shylock, the Jewish moneylender; and 145 drawings that present an alternative approach to the drama’s staging and casting of characters—Shylock is depicted as the blind merchant with drawings made by the artist while blindfolded.
The book is also telling of its time, produced at the moment when the idea of originality was up for question, the subaltern was asked to speak, and just before Silicon Valley took over our imaginations. A compelling superimposition of Shakespeare, The Blind Merchant shows that classic stories are still open for new angles of approach that reflect the times of its reading.
Design by Rachel Kinrot