frozen book detail
Frozen, detail of layered imagery with secret writing. Kurzke 2012

Books are magic, utter magic. Just think about it: they are paper, bound together to form pages; they are smudged in an orderly manner with regular marks: something very material. Or maybe someone holds a screen where some areas light up, and others remain dark in a carefully designed pattern. Readers will carefully examine these marks, — and suddenly they burst into laughter or cry, get angry or enlightened… – and not by the marks as such, but something more and immaterial. Studying these marks is like a magic ritual that conjures up a voice in their head that telling them stories or giving them information. But this process is abstract and hidden in their brains.

The writing down of ideas and language is such a powerful cultural tool, and their permanence in the form of books is marvellous. We are so accustomed to books around us, so used to decode the meaning of the symbols on them that we often overlook their magic. Bringing this magic back into plain view as been the core of all my efforts in the book arts since the very start. This investigation leads me to utilizing illegible, asemic or secret codes in some of my works. Not ultimately to hide something from the reader, but to make them aware of what they usually do automatically.

“346. A journey while staying as still as possible”. Kurzke 2017

Books and reading as such are recurring themes for my books, but not my only topic. In another, most recent body of work I concentrate on my experiences as a woman in this society. In “346. A Journey While Staying as Still as Possible”, I examine women’s loss of rights over their own body during pregnancy and the tight prescription of acceptable emotions and behaviours. Other books investigate what is considered a normal emotional response by women experiencing miscarriages. And my “women with hat” series of mini prints is an ongoing project in which I study female beauty outside the usually accepted boundaries.

planning of a stamp in the women with hats series, 2016

My Project Message in a Bottle has been an ongoing art project since 2013. I view these filled bottles as pieces of book art in that they have to be handled to discover the contents in writing and imagery. And in putting a piece of work into a small bottle and sending it on its way, reaching out to an unknown finder of the message, leaving it to them to decode and discover the contents, this work combines all the aspects of my work mentioned above.

I have since engaged in several other projects which focus on art outside galleries, and I like to distribute small pieces of art for an unexpectant member of public to find. I like to think that thus I can reach and hopefully delight a different group of people that might not visit a gallery to seek out art on their own accord.