Alison Hahn

one-of-a-kind artist book

The one-of-a-kind artist book “Burned” is about overcoming tragedy and trauma by writing one’s own story in life. The inspiration for the book was a found library book that contained a dramatic story about a young woman and her relationship with her father. The use of a wood-burning tool eliminates 90 percent of the text in the book. The caramelized smell of fire one experiences when reading the book, the hues of soot and scabs, and the skeleton-like pages that turn like brittle bones work together to create a texture of trauma. The sensual elements of the book and the fragmented text coincide with overwhelming past experiences of sexual misuse and the symbolic loss of caretakers. The intention of the book is to use the idea of physical trauma to represent and relate to experiences that damage the psyche.

The photographic series of “Burned” push the reader’s attention even further than the reading of the burned text; the shallow depth of field and selective focus in the photographs direct the viewers’ attention to focus on the triumphant aspects of the story while eliminating the “story” all together. The viewers are left to consider the heroine’s victory over the past by fragments of the story, such as “newly won freedom.”

© Alison Hahn