Jorn, Asger. Signes Gravés sur les Eglises de l’Eure et du Calvados. Copenhagen: Borgen, 1964. 327 [5] p.; ill.; 28 x 21 cm.; ill b&w wrappers with text in black and white. Photographs by Gerard Franceschi. 1,000 copies printed on Griffin Finish paper.

Second volume of the “Bibliotheque d’Alexandrie”, edited by the Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism. The heavily illustrated volume is a study of Viking’s “detournement” of Normandy’s Churches during the Middle Ages.

Scholar Karen Kurcynzski explains: “In 1964 Jorn edited a book on Norman church graffiti, Signs Engraved on the Churches of Eure and Calvados with photos of graffiti carved into the walls of churches in the Medieval period. The book related to Jorn’s Scandinavian Institute for Comparative Vandalism, founded 1961, which attempted to demonstrate by photographing repeated motifs in ancient and Medieval art throughout Europe, that the visual culture of the nomadic Scandinavian “vandals,” usually perceived as mere barbarians, did not derive from southern Europe but in many cases actually inspired European visual forms. Jorn’s conception of “vandalism” retains the double signification of both a historic ethnic group and the general value of destructive tendencies in culture. Jorn writes in Signs Engraved that rather than simple destruction, graffiti asserts a common human “need,” that of expression as a fundamental human activity. He further argues that, because the Medieval church held valuable objects (such as reliquaries) outside of social circulation, anonymous graffiti on the church walls expressed a popular protest against the isolation of artistic objects from everday life. He thus characterizes graffiti as an art form that defies the institutionalization of art and its removal from common society”(“Expression as Vandalism: Asger Jorn’s Modifications, https://situationistlibrary.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/kurcynski-expression-vandalism-jorn.pdf)

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