Title: False Friends
Artist/Editor: Ruth Sacks
Design: Jaan Evart, Marc Hollenstein and Stephen Serrato
Publisher: Kunstverein Publishing
Publication date: 2010
Dimensions: 11.5 x 18.5cm
Antonio Pigafetta’s questionable travelogue from 1591, titled Regnum Congo, was based on stories from Duarte Lopez, a Portuguese explorer who supposedly visited the Congo. The travelogue introduces an odd vision of the European landscape in which fantastic creatures are presented. South African artist Ruth Sacks recontextualises these historical interpretations by reappropriating them into contemporary conditions, juxtaposing the varied characteristics. Hence the logo of her fictional publishing house, Garamond Press: a fantastic animal based upon a description of one of the possible animals from Regnum Congo. The narrative of the book False Friends is derived from the storyline of Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders at the Rue Morgue from 1841, generally agreed to be the first detective story ever written. This contemporary version is set in Antwerp, Belgium, and is split into three languages: Dutch (Flemish), French and English. To follow the story’s plot, one has to be fluent in all three languages.