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As I left Jill Magid's show 'Authority to Remove' at Tate Modern, London, one of its phrases in particular continued to resonate in my mind.1 The formulation ‘the body of the book’ occurred twice in an exchange of letters between interlocutors with equal rights, it seemed, in determining the contents of the exhibition. It first appeared in a note sent by Magid to the AIVD (Algemene Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst, or Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service) — a document handwritten to mimic the mechanical rigidity of a typewriter. The note asked permission from the AIVD to present the project, which they had commissioned, and was punctuated by faintly amorous inflections, as if its request overlapped with symbolically mending a painful separation, or recuperating a memory from a shattered relation.
I am presenting the book disbound. I sliced the joints along its shoulders and pulled the body from its spine, and laid it under glass. You may take the body of the book.
The deputy director general of the AIVD reciprocated in an official missive, also displayed at Tate, mandating a colleague to collect ‘the body of the book’ at the end of the presentation. Either allowing that odd phrase to ricochet or
‘Jill Magid: Authority to Remove’, Tate Modern, London, 10 September 2009—3 January 2010, curated by Amy Dickson. ↑
‘Jill Magid: Article 12’, Stroom den Haag, The Hague, 20 April—15 June 2008, curated by Huib Haye van der Werf. ↑
‘Atlas of Intimacy’ (Jill Magid in conversation with Jarrett Earnest), The Brooklyn Rail, 3 October 2013, available at http://www.brooklynrail.org/2013/10/art/atlas-of-intimacyjill-magid-with-jarrett-earnest (last accessed on January 2015). ↑
‘Free’, group exhibition at the New Museum, New York, 20 October 2010—23 January 2011, curated by Lauren Cornell. ↑
‘Permission is a Material. An Interview with Jill Magid’, Artpulse, vol.4, no.15, 2013, available at http://artpulsemagazine.com/permission-is-a-material-an-interview-with-jill-magid (last accessed on January 2015). ↑
‘Atlas of Intimacy’, Brooklyn Rail, op. cit. ↑