Paul Klinger, “Rubble Paper, Paper Rubble”


Cover of the book, with the image of an imprinted alligator made by the artist.


Page spread including a photo of a bullet hole in a Texas state historical marker, paired with a textual fragment taken from a marker in Huntsville, Texas.


A set of prints that are included in the middle of the book. The prints are of a large alligator’s tail and lower jaw.


This pair of images demonstrates a special kind of layered rubbing used by the artist in a chapter of the book entitled “Shotgun.”


An example of the text that runs throughout the book. The images are poems selectively rubbed from larger texts on state historical markers in Texas.


Artist: Paul Klinger (Houston, TX)

Title: Rubble Paper, Paper Rubble (2013)

Medium/technique(s): Digitized graphite transfer, digitized animal prints, perfect bound.

Edition size: 300

Number of pages: 200

Dimensions, open: 10.75 x 16.5 x .75″

Dimensions, closed: 10.75 x 8.25 x .75″


Artist Statement:

Rubble Paper, Paper Rubble is a book project composed by visiting historical markers throughout southeast Texas and making graphite rubbings from the embossed text. At its heart, the project uses poetry to make and unmake official local histories. Also included in the book are color plates featuring a series of alligator prints I made while in the field, and another alligator print is featured on the cover. These are prints made directly from the animal’s body, a kind of swamp treatment of gyotaku printing.

The rubbings are visual poems and landscapes that explore the musicality of the outside archive. While tracing the map of state historical markers to chart an itinerary, I started building strands of meaning in the markers I sought out. Transportation itself factored into the structure of the book. It’s a “roadside” book that captures voices only as they are passing through and attempts, out of that eavesdropping, to create a grammar of place — or an “ORTHOGRAPHY OF OLD GILEAD,” as one poem has it.

While I typically work in much smaller, handmade editions, Rubble Paper, Paper Rubble is a perfect-bound trade book. I wanted to engage a tradition of artists’ books and at the same time adhere to the essentially public genre demands of the historical marker, so for this project, mass production just made more sense. I was fortunate to find a new publisher seeking to follow in the footsteps of great experimental poetry presses like Granary Books, where materiality and accessibility are equally cherished. As a result, in Rubble Paper, Paper Rubble, poetry and materiality are inextricable: the text images itself through scans, photographs, and digitized prints.