The real origins of writing began in Mesopotamia 6,000 years ago. Sumerians invented writing as an accounting system, a mnemonic technique with three-dimensional tokens and clay objects. The first works of literature are also of Sumerian origin, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and The Descent of Inanna. That Which I Recited to You at Midnight is a line extracted from The Exaltation of Inanna, a poem written by the first ever author, a woman called Enheduanna (ca. 2285Ė2250 B.C.E.). These early books contain a numerical structure that reaches us even today. Sumerian metrical system was based on 6, and it has survived in our measure of time: 60 seconds in a minute; 60 minutes in an hour; 24 hours in a day; 360 days in a year. Maroto is using this numerical system to give structure to his project: 6 clay Bullas (with hidden contents inside), 6 face drawings and 7 masks (as many as the gates Inanna crossed in her descent to the Underworld).
Simple materials, ink and clay, respond to the movements and the pressure exerted by Marotoís body directly both on the paperís surface and on the clay volumes. Self-portrait is another strand he is exploring in That Which I Recited to You at Midnight. In Sumerian astrology, Inanna corresponds with modern Zodiac sign Virgo, which is number 6 and Marotoís own sign. Death masks, dead writers and writing understood as the leaving of traces that remain as the testimony of a presence now absent.
David Maroto (1976) is a Spanish visual artist based in The Netherlands. He has an extensive artistic practice at international level: 11th Havana Biennial; Artium, Museum of contemporary art (Vitoria, Spain); Extra City (Antwerp); S.M.A.K. (Ghent); EFA Project Space (New York), among many other venues. In 2011 he spent a residency in ISCP New York, where he met curator Joanna Zielinska and began a collaboration in The Book Lovers, a long-term research project on artistís novels with the support of a number of international art organizations: M HKA (Antwerp), de Appel (Amsterdam), Fabra i Coats (Barcelona), Whitechapel Gallery (London), Cricoteka (Krakow) and CCA Ujazdowski Castle Warsaw, among others. He has published a gamebook called The Wheel of Fortune (2014), an artistís novel where game and novel, two of his main interests, meet in one single form. Recently, he has co-edited Artist Novels, (Sternberg Press, Cricoteka), the first publication to deal with this subject. David holds a MFA from the Dutch Art Institute and is currently pursuing a PhD at Edinburgh College of Art.
- - verberg extra tekst