Katharine Mulherin is very pleased to present The Mute Book, a body of photographs by Toronto-based artist Janieta Eyre. This exhibition takes place in conjunction with the CONTACT photography festival.
The Mute Book
"From the age of 14 to 17, I developed a disorder that made it impossible for me to speak. It had a curious effect on my development, because as a consequence many people gave up attempting to converse with me and instead began to behave as if I didn’t exist. They no longer made eye contact with me nor reacted in anyway if I entered or exited a room. And in my silence I began to have strange thoughts: I began to wonder if I was in fact invisible.
The noises people made around me stopped requiring acknowledgement and became distant and indecipherable. Images filled my mind, but no words. And after a time, I became aware of a strange stillness in my centre.
It was during those years I learned identity is not something essential, but interchangeable. It is like a set of clothes.
Some years ago I was looking through an alchemical text and I came on a reference to the Mutus Liber. It was published in France in the 17th Century and is a book of images which outlines a method of manufacturing the Philosopher’s stone- or in more contemporary terms, a method of achieving enlightenment.
I also stumbled on an old black and white photograph of a person dressed half as a man and half as a woman. The clothes, makeup and hair had been carefully and beautifully divided. I had a powerful feeling of recognition, and this is what made me begin to take the photographs in this series. "
-Janieta Eyre, 2012