Jack Pierson Roses Eros, 1993
To compose his Word Pieces, Jack Pierson collects abandoned letters from the signs of closed businesses, such as cinema marquees, casinos or storefronts, as well as road signs and other cultural ephemera. Concise and sometimes laconic, they tap into the poetics of contemporary culture, including classical, literary and biblical quotations that evoke subtle associations for the viewer. The historical piece Roses Eros (1993) references ‘Rrose Sélavy’, one of Marcel Duchamp’s most famous pseudonyms. The name is a pun that sounds like the French phrase Eros, c’est la vie, which can be translated as ‘Eros, such is life’ and appeared in a series of aphorisms by Surrealist poet Robert Desnos. Using readymade letters, Pierson appropriates this phrase to create a contemporary aphorism.