FLF is a book by artist Mark Rice which contains his thesis work in printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design. It is an illustrated creation myth about the artist’s own philosophy towards art making. This book is written from the point of view of a man named Kevinator in the invented language of Rungish. It works as a posthumous account of Kevinator’s final months after a large explosion traps him in his place of employment. He deals with his own issues of fear, originality, and inspiration while battling his new caged environment. Symbolically, it is a parafictional, metaphorical, and exaggerated account of Mark Rice’s two years of graduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design.
This project originally took the form of a portfolio of thirty-six prints, with three separately printed appendices, with a total print count of eight-eight. Copper and wood engravings that documented previous projects in drawing, sculpture, print, installation and music illuminate the story. Influenced by a study of early book projects like the Nuremberg Chronicle and the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, the size and scope of the project was intentionally vast. The appearance of engraving references its initial usage in the documentation of sculpture, jewelry, and paintings. These prints are displayed as documents, in direct reference to their preceding and intentionally absent sculptural counterparts. The inherent discrepancies between these reproductive engravings and their original artwork are large, and this discrepancy is used as a metaphor of the subjective quality of memory and objective documentation.
The invented English dialect of Rungish accompanies the illustrations in this text. This dialect of English was created for those with a distrust of language’s inherent ability to disseminate and demystify. This language demands an empathetic collaboration that bears a striking similarity to the relationship sought by this artist in speaking through images. It seeks a slower and more reflective read as a method of reestablishing trust in the mutual responsibilities of communication for author and reader, artist and viewer. Both the mediation of reality through expressive documentation and the usage of a restrictive text call into question the current expectations we have for modern communication. Rungish works to briefly suspend understanding in exchange for a moment of visual contemplation.
Pictured below is the portfolio of prints in chronological order and the packaging of the portfolio. This is followed by documentation of the digitally-printed catalog.