Bookkeeping 01-12 2020 recounts all books purchased by A-FL (b. 1985) over the course of a single year. In the dry manner of traditional bookkeeping, each acquired book is represented by a black and white scan of the receipt or invoice following its acquisition. From January through December, a total of 92 accumulated receipts covering 135 books are presented.
The artist's book is made available in an edition of one (+2 A.P.), which is offered at a price equivalent to the grand total for all the books accounted for.
Bookkeeping 01-12 2020 reflects upon whether or not we can be defined by the objects we choose to own. Arguably, a survey as specific as this one – covering a single year and solely focusing on reading (and collecting) habits – could not claim to present a comprehensive overview of the full scope of a person's interests. However, this survey does not seem to reflect a fluctuating curiosity, but rather a more mature, distinctly focused and investigative absorption. As such, the book provides a wealth of information, not only on the artist's interests, but on books and book collecting in general. With the Covid-19 pandemic confining most of more specifically focused transactions to the online sphere; where geographical distances are less of an issue, the book also presents a wide range of specialized book shops, antiquarians and galleries around the world. The records show that the included books have been acquired from a total of 46 cities in 12 different countries. While most of the transactions were made within the EU, present are also orders from the US, Mexico and Australia. The method of purchase not only affects accessibility, but also cost, as shipping and handling become factors to be taken into account. Spread by spread and receipt by receipt, the combined costs of the books – as indicated in the bottom corner of the blank left hand page – increase, doubling as a pagination of sorts.
While the majority of the books accounted for fall within the wider category of art, photography and art theory, the list also include a number of novels (from Jane Austen to Julian Barnes), a couple of biographies, the rare poetry collection and a few books on political theory, such as the three volumes of the German edition of Karl Marx's Das Kapital (Dietz Verlag, 1969). By way of outlining reading habits, the book presents an intimate expose of the artist's interests.
In its extravagant execution, with upper gold cut and hot-foiled title, the leather bound artist's book in its clamshell box can be seen as a monument to books and book collecting. It is a diary of the artist's reading habits and a yearly diet of intellectual stimuli. However, more than anything else, Bookkeeping 01-12 2020 is a romance novel recounted by an auditor.