Lynne Sachs reads EDEN by Robert Frede Kenter / Rare Swan Press

Lynne Sachs reads EDEN by Robert Frede Kenter
Rare Swan Press
By Lynne Sachs
June 24, 2022

A REVIEW by Lynne Sachs

While Eden may at first appear as an image book, to be devoured with the eyes with the freedom of a journey without plan, engaging with the book in this way will cause you to miss its immersive, linear construction of meaning.  The pages of images with occasional text are not numbered per se, but this is a book that, like a film, moves forward in time. I started with Kenter’s introductory text, one that claims that the art within the book was found, like flora in “wetlands or between clover and lace umbrellas discarded”.  The ambiguity of a made object and a found object had begun.  We will be asked to parse a “ventriloquism of dots” in the next few pages, words that become images and images that morph into words.  Next, I discovered a series of overlaid, Cubist-esque faces, confronting me directly and in profile. This multiplicity of perspectives accentuates a human countenance that speaks to me, even with closed lips. A ventriloquist for the author perhaps?  

Turn page to another face, this time in the darkness, like the moon’s face but in negative. Here, I am already wondering what we find in any face.  Aren’t they all the same, really? Soon, a two-page combination that reminds me that we are in what Kenter calls a “menagerie of planned and found” when I see collaged images of educational treatises and abstracted line drawings.  Detritus or culture? It matters not. Immediately after, nature reveals its own spontaneous culture, what appears to me as ephemeral prints in the snow are here documented, and that is enough. Next, we say goodbye to everything made, just observing the slightest crevice of light in the dark — suggested by white on black, black on white, the optics give us such liberty to see things as we want to see them.  

Each pairing in this book is critical.  Together they create suggestions of trompe l’oeil, make us play with what we think we should see and what we see at first glance. I relish these shifts in perception.  In a later image, a slit of light, like a key hole becomes explicitly a little angel, not because I saw this but because the words on the page told me. I am seeing with Kenter, transporting abstraction into a spirit. This is what art can do, and I am grateful for the guidance. 

Soon, I see a musically inspired page and another sense is sparked, I hear culture in my mind, I am aware of the work of writing notes and having them read by a person with an instrument. I am a musician without instruments, reading and reproducing soundless sounds.  What a journey I have taken, already. What is left in my hands are a series of word/ image engagements that stretch and expand upon the place of poetry in all frames of culture – signage, information tech, children’s tales.  If a book is a toy, here I hold “six toys” and I will continue to play with them when and if I wish.  Now they are mine. 

Starfish Aorta Colossus

Film by Lynne Sachs, Poem by Paolo Javier

Poetry watches film. Film reads poetry. Paolo Javier’s text is a catalyst for the digital sculpting of an 8mm Kodachrome canvas. Syntactical ruptures and the celebration of nouns illuminate twenty-five years of rediscovered film journeys.” 

Lynne Sachs.
Filmmaker & Poet

Lynne Sachs is an American experimental filmmaker and poet based in Brooklyn, New York. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, she searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in each new project. Over the course of her career, Lynne has worked closely with fellow filmmakers Craig Baldwin, Bruce Conner, Barbara Hammer, Chris Marker, Gunvor Nelson, Carolee Schneemann, and Trinh T. Min-ha.

Lynne has produced over 40 films as well as numerous live performances, installations and web projects. She has tackled topics near and far, often addressing the challenge of translation — from one language to another or from spoken work to image. These tensions were investigated most explicitly between 1994 and 2006, when Lynne produced five essay films that took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel/Palestine, Italy and Germany — sites affected by international war — where she looked at the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions.

Lynne is also deeply engaged with poetry. In 2019, Tender Buttons Press
published her first book “Year by Year Poems”.

Her film catalogue is represented in North America by Canyon Cinema and the Filmmaker’s Cooperative with selected features at Cinema Guild and Icarus Films. Her work is distributed internationally by Kino Rebelde.