This is for you.

This is for you: Personal Words of Love and Affirmation, London
Books with screenprint paper interiors and hand-written ink covers, distributed in London, England
5” x 3.5” x 0.25” and 16 pages each, 50 books total
Fall 2009

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The material for This is for you consists of fifty handmade books. The inside text is screenprinted and the outside title is handwritten. The content of the book is an individualized experience for the person who discovers it; while acknowledging faults, the text tells the viewer they are successful, beautiful and important. This is for you can only truly be experienced by an unknown person, through an act of discovery. The art of This is for you isn’t the book itself, but the moment a person has with it. The art is within their experience.

Twenty of the This is for you books were distributed to public areas near London Underground stations. This is to create loose cohesion within an attempt at an unbiased distribution process. The Underground map provides documentation without disturbing the activity. To document the movement on the map, rather than add, the path was deleted using white paint. The books are discovered by the audience and taken away; the map is obsolete to its posthumous viewers, other than acknowledging a distribution event took place.

This is for you is an injection of acknowledgment into a culture. People have a habit of feeling unimportant and lost in this world. This is for you attempts to acknowledge the difficulties of life, but let the viewer know they have been doing everything as well as they could, and they are important. It is trying to allow someone that small moment where they realize they are okay. They are important. I created This is for you, in a way, because I myself long for those moments of acknowledgement. I desire them; therefore I wanted to give them to other people. I believe we are all in this together.

Documentation of each handwritten cover, showing the slight differences. Each book is individualized because each audience member is an individual.

As an artist I chose to not include my name on the books. The book, ultimately, is meant to be invisible. What the audience is meant to experience are the words, and the art itself is the viewer’s contemplation and the resulting infusion of the text’s ideas into themselves. This disengagement of me as the creator of this work also reflects my discomfort with the “art world.” I heard an artist speak once; after university he created a vast amount of sculptures, and after he created each one he kept it secret, didn’t document it, and buried it somewhere in New York City. I found this beautiful. He is now a community artist, where he engages with a community and creates work for them. Perhaps, in a way, This is for you is a combination of these two acts. I am creating work for a community, as well as effectively burying myself as the creator. I hope people find and contemplate This is for you; I do not care if they know it was me who created it. Benefiting me has nothing to do with the work, therefore my name has no place on the book.

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© Cathy Johnson, 2005 - 2010,