“The Bookstore Project” started in 2012 with a visit to my friend G. J. Askins who has amassed an enormous amount of volumes in a well-lit space carved out of an old mill in Northern Massachusetts. The space has fascinated me for years. A strange, striking mess, it lacks the structure of a typical store where everything is usually carefully confined and catalogued. It is a bit melancholy – like an abandoned cathedral, an ancient city or an archaeological dig. I think of its owner as one of those ancient Irish monks who dedicated their lives to saving Western Civilization after the collapse of the Roman Empire. Maybe because of its location or maybe because in the age of the tablet and the selfie book readers are becoming a dying species, there are rarely any visitors in the store. More than anything else, the bookstore feels like a collection of silences. Yet, a repository of knowledge without any recipients craves to be repopulated like an old ghost town or a newly discovered planet waiting for a new beginning. The Garden of Eden, Alice in Wonderland, and the paintings of Belgian surrealist Paul Delvaux all came to mind. Hence the nudes.
Florin Ion Firimiţã is an artist, professor and novelist who traces his interest in art back to his mother’s passion for drawing and his father’s modest amateur photo lab, in Bucharest, Romania, where he was entrusted with mixing chemicals, developing film and printing black-and-white photos at the age of six. Versatile in a variety of mediums, from painting to mixed media and from writing to photography, the artist has continued to explore a wide range of creative expressions.