Library Interventions. The Agents Respond: Holly Stevenson

Library Interventions : Sharon Kivland

Agent Holly Stevenson : Dear Rouge

Dear Sharon

I would like to propose that at the bidding of your red lipstick I should attend the Leeds College of Art Library where as a dutiful female ‘agent’ I shall research the idea that writing postcards and lipstick share a language in common.

An agent is one that desires to play the catalyst at another’s bidding: Consider a Julien Sorel, a Dante, an Emma, an Anna Freud. The bidder may not always be an obvious driving force, and an agent of that bidding maybe an anti-hero, a lost and shameless victim, a ‘servant’ or indeed a diplomat that has a genuine insight into their maker… The Postcard is a twentieth century agent, where it was once a common place go between senders, receivers and re-senders, it has now become a contemporary art signifier of both a time and a tempo that is somehow other-worldly… a printed image accompanying a hand written message that transits in real time is as romantic as lipstick is portrayed to be by the cosmetic companies.

I do not want to literally compare lipstick to postcards but rather as an agent in search of Kivlandia I wish to consider what the language of lipstick may mean in relation to the language of postcards: It is commonly known that wearing lipstick became more widely accepted with the onset of dressing-up to have one’s picture postcard taken. As an investigator I am more keen to look at substitution rather than (your) absence and (my) presence but substitution is a dangerous notion it has the whiff of lack about it and a clumsy one at that: what I intend by using the term substitution here is more akin to that which is implied by the term inframince. Sharon, if I may, as well as imagine what you might read, I will re-read your work in the library.

Wearing lipstick can be a defiant act, however, the language of lipstick is riddled with sincere insincerity, like the seeker of bonheur and a certain type of painting it is all in the title: 102: PALPITANTE [thrilling], 104: PASSION [passion] 105: INIMITABLE [inimitable], 108: DÉTERMINÉE [headstrong], 109: ROUGE NOIR [red, black], 90: PIMPANTE [dapper], 91: SÉDUISANTE [alluring]..,

With your permission I propose to garner a postcard-ish grammatical knowledge of the lipsticked faces in your publications.

Best wishes,


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