Eight books with SUPERWORDS as titlePart of the show "Public Library", Amerika Gedenkbibliothek, Berlin 2016
Books that find a way into libraries fresh from the press are kept from curious readers at first. They are keyworded and catalogued, and sometimes given a new cover right away by the book-binder: using a synthetic, wipe-clean material known in Germany as "library linen". The books get a barcode and an RFID-transponder, so setting them in the place assigned to them within the Dewey Decimal Classification—DDC, the most frequently used system for ordering library collections all over the world. And to make it difficult for them to go astray without a record from the public space of the library.
Adib Fricke is occupied as an artist with these parameters, developing eight books for the library that fit the book model only phenomenologically, and having them produced by a ZLB book-binder in the context of this exhibition.
The titles of the books are reminiscent of words such as Mutabor, which we think we must have heard somewhere before. They are strange and yet at the same time seem familiar to us. Fricke plays with words and interchanges letters in his new works, "Superwords". And just as the magic word in the fairy-tale "Kalif Storch" by Wilhelm Hauff suggests an "I will be transformed", these books are also subject to a strange metamorphosis. From the outside they are clearly recognizable as books, since the name of the author and the title are embossed in silver on the cover, in vertical format: e.g. Adib Fricke, HEZRSCLAHG (Herzschlag—Heartbeat). Under the blue cover there is a thread-bound book-block made from chamois-coloured paper, its pages unprinted—a blind volume. Only the inside title page, which follows the half-title in the classic way, is printed in black with semi-bold letters, as in hot type, and we again find the name Adib Fricke and HEZRSCLAHG.
These words also represent our cognitive ability, the fact that our brains automatically "transform" incorrectly written words into correct ones; even the case when several letters are inverted. Even when cataloguing the eight books as a conceptual component of the project, some of the titles were mistakenly written correctly by the librarians.
The eight books are on open display during the exhibition. They have been registered in the ZLB collection and thus also in the OPAC, the Online Public Access Catalogue, and so after the exhibition they will be available according to its system on the shelves of the AGB reading room.
—Katharina Hohmann, exhibition catalogue »Public Library«,
translation from German by Lucinda Rennison