– Dr. Eva Seidner, for the Mira Godard Gallery
In literary works there are significant differences between an autobiography and a self-portrait, and it would be interesting to pursue elsewhere the question of whether or not similar distinctions apply in the visual arts. For the moment, however, I wish to focus on the clearest and most basic distinctions between Cicansky's books and the universal idea of "the book" as collated information printed on paper and bound between boards.For even without the benefit of Cicansky's background notes, the viewer understands that these volumes and their titles stand for passages or "chapters" in the life of the artist. But of course, Cicansky's books are not books in anything other than their outward appearance, which in fact belies their true nature. They are simulacra – conceptual representations of what Cicansky's autobiography might look like, if he were to publish it in book form.
– Dr. Eva Seidner
We are accustomed to thinking of the Great Books as somehow transcending the realm of existence in which their mortal authors and readers must dwell. But even a book whose ideas and mode of expression survive through many generations cannot endure forever as a physical object. By fashioning his books out of clay, Cicansky seems to underline their fragility and their connection to the earth, from which all things come and to which all eventually return, to come again as new forms in a new season.
– Dr. Eva Seidner
Self-Portrait: A Small Library 2011 was part of The Self-Portrait Show, the 50th Anniversary Exhibition at the Mira Godard Gallery in Toronto from mid-March to mid-April. Excerpts from "The Patient Labyrinth of Lines", the accompanying essay by Dr. Eva Seidner are ©2012, reprinted with permission.