Gold MedalCzech Republic

Petr Jambor
Palimpsest

Design: Petr Jambor
Printer: Polygrafia, n.p.
Publisher: 4AM Fórum pro architekturu a média
ISBN


An antiquarian gem documents the 1980 Olympic Games, presumably magnificently adorned with numerous large-format photographs and integrated details. There is no sign of the athletes competing against each other, however. It is an entirely confusing phantom book, originally published in Prague in 1981: white sheets of paper, with thick black frames spread here and there over a double page in suprematist rhythm. Where have they disappeared to, these potential gold medallists? Faded like medieval ink, erased by the ravages of time, parked in the imaginary library of collective oblivion? Damned memory.

It was the Olympics in Moscow, boycotted after Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan—which resulted in a vast crop of medals for the USSR and GDR. All the pictures and texts have been carefully processed by obliterating, burning away the printing ink, leaving just a faint mark in the surface texture of the newly stripped paper similar to the bare marble of classical sculptures that were originally given true-to-life colours. Radically erasing pictures decades later is an act of artistic sabotage in the discourse pursued by the culture of remembrance on the prerogative of interpretation with regard to glorification and repression. As a tabula rasa in a literal sense, this medium of a book is now ready to be rewritten with a new version of the historical event. Just one symbolic pictorial fragment remains: a curved arm of a crawling swimmer, his mouth wide open to snatch a final breath, transformed into the image of a person reaching out to be rescued prior to the massive wave of oblivion.