Valdottavo by Michael Waight

Waight’s book Valdottavo charges text with the recreation of landscape. There is a duality in scale in which mountains and words overlay in effortless simultaneity. Michael writes:

The idea behind this book came from a short residency in the hills of Tuscany, Italy. The name ‘Valdottavo’ is the name of the small village, where the small print workshop sat, tucked away about twenty miles from Lucca. The single line of text represents the hills around the area and the gathering of the words falling into the valley. They fall into the eighth valley fold of the book as the translation of the village’s name means ‘the eighth valley’. The words or phrases are repeated eight times before another takes their place and the width of each page is eight centimetres. The back is meant to be similar to a Japanese screen, with the abstracted word of the book’s title acting as an incantation.

In this small book, the text becomes landscape, evoking and repeating the lines of the horizon in the tradition of concrete poetry. The repetition is less significant than its placement, which has the effect of overlaying the textual meaning (ie, naming) with the far distant mountains.

Michael Waight was born 1960. He currently works as a collaborative master printmaker in Aberdeen at Peacock Visual Arts. His own art includes prints, wood constructions and artist books. Recently, he gave a presentation on his work in the Orkney Islands. Michael has been a visiting lecturer at numerous educational facilities, teaching printmaking and bookbinding. He has exhibited in the U.S.A., Netherlands, South Africa, Italy, and the UK.