She gave it to me I got it from her is a dormant performance in book form that skips through five generations of women in Clara Amaral’s family and hinges on the one in the middle—the last one in the sequence to not have been taught how to read or write. What at first sounds like some family trivia in actuality offers a glimpse into a deeply rooted sociocultural obstacle that many women in Portugal faced up until the 1950s, before the reform of the education system—which until then often excluded women on the basis of their gender or economic status.
She gave it to me I got it from her is more than the sum of its pages. This volume is part of artist Clara Amaral’s broader research on publishing modalities and their relation to performative practices. With an artistic practice grounded in an interdisciplinary perspective, she questions what it means to be a reader, to be a writer, aiming to expand existing modes of reading and writing. Of course, it can be read according to convention, from front to back, left to right, page one to page two, and so on. Most probably, in this case, the text will appear to be nonsensical. This stratagem is employed to underline the notion that the conventional isn’t necessarily right, while also emulating the frustration experienced by someone who is excluded from cracking the code of language. Alternatively, you can read the publication according to its score, which will reveal the path hidden in its pages. With an afterword by Yana Foqué.
TITLE: She gave it to me, I got it from her
AUTHOR: Clara Maria Salgueiro Amaral
DESIGNERS: Ronja Andersen, Karoline Swiezynski
MANAGING EDITOR: Yana Foqué
COPY EDITOR & PROOFREADING: Isabelle Sully
PUBLICATION DATE: 2021
DIMENSIONS: 21 x 30 x 5 cm
PRINTER: Drukkerij Raddraaier
DISTRIBUTION: Idea Books