(first text panel): across recto printed in black ink: ONE/ She dreams of paws, and of “carrying” a cat while others carry babies. / Later, all the cats pay homage.
(second text panel): across recto printed in black ink: TWO/ She must have wanted this, this predicament, these contradictions. She / believes physical conception must be “enabled” by will or desire, like any other / creative process. / (Pregnant with thought. Brainchild. Giving birth to an idea.)
(third text panel): across recto printed in black ink: THREE/ She will bring forth in time. Their “we” will be extended, her “I” will / be altered, enlarged or annihilated. This is the terror hidden in bliss-- / She keeps on describing bodily states, as though that will help her incorporate / the changes within her notion of ‘self’.
(fourth text panel): across recto printed in black ink: FOUR/ She writes: One is born into time. And in time, introduced to language... / Or rather-- One is born. And through language, introduced to time... / Perhaps even-- One is born, in time, through language.
(fifth text panel): across recto printed in black ink: FIVE/ She now understands that it is perfectly possible to forget who one has / been and what one has accomplished. / Continuing the piece requires great effort. It is her voice, her body. It is pain- / ful being inside and outside simultaneously.
(sixth text panel): across recto printed in black ink: SIX/ She speaks (as a woman) about everything, although they wish her to speak / only about women’s things. They like her to speak about everything only if she / does not speak “as a woman”, only if she will agree in advance to play the art- / ist’s role as neutral (neuter) observer. / She does not speak (as a woman) about anything, although they want her to. There / is nothing she can speak of “as a woman”. As a woman, she can not speak.
(seventh text panel): across recto printed in black ink: SEVEN/ Knots and knows, Some NOT’s & NO’s about art-- [underlined] / 1. The subject matter of work is not its content. / 2. A work’s meaning is not necessarily the same as the ‘intention’ or ‘purpose’ / of the artist. / 3. There is no distinction between ‘reading’ images and reading texts.
(eighth text panel): across recto printed in black ink: EIGHT/ She is the content of a mania she can observe. The object of the ex- / ercise, she must remain its subject, chaotic and tormented. (“Tormented” is not [underlined] / too strong a word, she decides later.) She knows she will never finish in time. / And meanwhile, the photographs, like someone else’s glance, gain significance / through perseverance.
(ninth text panel): across recto printed in black ink: NINE/ It is easier to describe thoughts than feelings. It is easier to describe / despair than joy. For these reasons, the writing gives a false impression: there / is not enough exultation in it. / At that point, she writes: Time is no longer a hindrance, but a means of making / actual what is potential.
(tenth text panel): across recto printed in black ink: TEN/ 10 Months / “seeing” (& depicting).................natural ‘fact’ (photos) / “feeling” (& describing) ............... cultural artifacts (texts) / She needs to resolve these feelings of stress caused by having internalized two / or more ways of knowing, believing, and understanding practically everything. She / affirms her discovery of a way out through “truth-telling”: acknowledging con- / tradictions, expressing inconsistencies, doubletalk, ambiguity. She writes that / she is no longer confused.
Estate of Susan Hiller, London.; NGA purchase (through Lisson Gallery, London), 2020.