“The d’s and the p’s, the n’s and the m’s”

2014

“The d’s and the p’s, the n’s and the m’s” is culled from Primo Levi’s The Fugitive - a disarmingly poignant story about a disappearing poem. In this fantastical tale, Pasquale is suddenly seized by the lucidity of his pen, and writes what he considers, the most beautiful poem ever written.

Overwhelmed by the breadth of his masterpiece, he places the poem in a drawer. Upon returning the following day, he notices the sheet of paper has moved. Despite his suspicions, he safeguards the paper again. However, it proves to be futile, as the unruly poem continues to elude its creator. The individual letters in the poem actually sprout legs and attempt--ultimately successfully--to break free from their captor, leaving nothing but a few illegible shreds of paper.

While The Fugitive questions the value we place on the materialization of the creative act, it also contemplates the transformative possibilities of this process. Molly Schulman and Salomeh Grace similarly revel in their own indulgence of mark-making, which not unlike Primo Levi’s The Fugitive, leaves us with a sense of lyricism, play and anomolous absurdity.