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Fahrenheit 451 (1957)

Materials: 2000 books (Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, edition 1957, mirror print, in 2000 copies), wooden table, 78 cm × 85 cm × 210 cm. Collection FRAC Bourgogne

The starting point of the artwork Fahrenheit 451 (1957) (2002) is the eponymous, dystopian cult novel by the American author Ray Bradbury (1920-2012). On a wooden table are 2,000 copies of the book printed in mirrored writing. 451 degrees Fahrenheit (or 232.7 degrees Celsius) is the temperature it takes to ignite a book. The science fiction tale takes place in an imaginary future society where no one reads anymore, because life has to be lived quickly. The world is ruled by mass media, and as such books are seen as so dangerous – because they make people think – that they should be burned immediately if one turns up somewhere. The protagonist is a ‘firefighter’ whose job is not to put out fires, but to make fires to eliminate books. It paints a depressing picture of the future, where the individual is completely controlled by a totalitarian state. When a character manages to get out of brainwashing, there is a spark of hope.

Photos: André Morin

40 kunstenaars uit 18 landen brengen 60 kunstwerken op 16 binnen- en buitenlocaties naar Kortrijk. 

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