“The most beautiful cosmos is a pile of random sweepings.” This aphorism by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus provided the inspiration for the book Flesh and the Cosmos. Artist and filmmaker William E. Jones’ project, which he calls “automatic illustration,” shows the results of Internet image searches based upon a century’s worth of translations of Heraclitus’ phrase from eight words in Ancient Greek. The images range from the sublime to the ridiculous. The artist, whose work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Wexner Center for the Arts and Tate Modern, writes: “A text from the very beginning of philosophy in the Western tradition … can make the unspoken manias and taboos of contemporary society available to us in a new way.” The fragment has also been the subject of scholarly debate, summarized here in essays by classicists Jonathan Barnes and Richard Fletcher.
Published by David Kordansky Gallery
Texts by Jonathan Barnes, Richard Fletcher, and William E. Jones
Softcover, 112 pages, English, 2014
Designed by Brian Roettinger