For Fenwick Gallery’s current exhibit, Locale, Mark Kelner recreated F. Scott Fitzgerald’s grave ledger using 50 copies of The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald is buried in Rockville, Maryland, Kelner’s hometown, and the ledger is inscribed with the final line of the well known classic. The piece brings this local landmark into the library using books as the medium as well as the subject matter of the work.
Watch this video to learn more about how the piece was made.
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
50 copies of “The Great Gatsby” repulped, ink pigmented with graphite
from the series, “Signs and Wonders”
Growing up in Rockville, which might as well have been the center of the universe to any kid growing up there, it never really hit me how strange it was to have – of all people – F. Scott Fitzgerald buried in a family plot at a local church just off the Pike.
Like most American ninth-graders, I was first introduced to Fitzgerald when I read The Great Gatsby for a class assignment. Only later in life, did I recognize the gravity of its concluding line – beautiful and sad, poetic and haunting.
If writers never really die – if they’re continued to be read, remain relevant, and are celebrated – then the raw materials used to monumentalize them, namely granite, marble, and bronze are the wrong choices to do so.
In reinterpreting Fitzgerald’s grave, I chose to make a handmade paper, a living, breathing material that I repulped from 50 copies of The Great Gatsby bought at local used bookshops. The text is printed with ink pigmented with graphite as a recognition of Fitzgerald’s favorite writing instrument – the pencil.