"If any book could claim to come close to emulating that free form stream of consciousness feeling that we experience whilst sleeping, Traces Within by Eva Voutsaki is surely it.
Her dreamlike, hallucinatory images in themselves are enough to draw us to the edges of that realm, but the ingenious design by Stanley James Press is what pulls us in and makes this book the hypnotic surreal and mood shifting encounter that it is.
Essentially Traces Within is three books stitched to a cover that then concertinas together to appear as a single volume.
The alchemy begins when the cover is opened fully allowing the books to sit side by side, and the pages to be opened independently.The result being a mystical journey of nearly twelve hundred different combinations and sequences.
With each copy being hand bound by Voutsaki, these beautifully lithographed pages are a textural and interactive delight.
I’m also very happy to report that once the pyrotechnical design has been marvelled over, we are also left with an imaginative and lingering collection of images, which means I already have my first favourite book of the year.
Now where was I?
This. It is this. Beauty, magic, depth. Stirring oneiric integrity. A dream decanted in stills, a wordless narrative, a fractal shift. It is as if @eva_voutsaki has taken what lives behind my eyes and made it uncannily, poignantly, real.
Three books inside each other; each page new jolts and revelations. She shows me in her notebook, while we wait for the sun to set gold on a garden shoot, that there are 2,170 combinations. I look through the dummy book with my bones not my eyes. For once, I have inadequate words.
I first saw Eva’s photographs 13 years ago in the Brighton MA show. They were unlike anything I’d seen. They were made with all of her, all of her bones. At the time, I was starting writing. Here was the visual of the stories I wanted to write.
I can’t do it justice so I won’t even try. Its evasive articulation is part of the experience of this book. I open the parcel, tied with brown paper and string, and I know this is one of those things that I will keep near me until I die.
I become, in Woolf’s words, “all eye”.
And you will too. You need this book. Follow @eva_voutsaki and go to her website and buy a copy of the book for your own trove of precious things.
Eva, you are a magic-maker, a storyteller, an interpreter of dreams. Thank you. I’m in awe of it. I want to write in the way that you photograph the world.