Love Letters Transcribed

Various epistolary actions, ongoing since 2010.
“My instinct is to use my youth as an excuse for reacting the way I did on that day. I had been socialising as a gay man for only a few months, I still saw the crisis from outside, with suburban teenage ignorance. I had no analysis of the what and why of the situation, and instead I culpabilised you, blaming you for putting me at risk, making myself the victim, creating a reason to end the affair. I was wrong.”

Nemer transcribes intimate letters from his personal collection: love letters, farewell letters, heartfelt apologies, letters of reproach. The transcribed letters are made available to the public through various actions. 

Some letters are described in a separate, handwritten note that serves as a cue to future readers. Readers are required to either purchase the transcribed letter without knowing its contents, or enact some other gesture in order to gain access to a copy of the letter. 

For the exhibition Slash: In Between the Normative and Fantasy, curated by Kaspars Vanags, a transcription of a letter of apology was made available to gallery visitors who wrote their names and addresses on the inside wall of the gallery toilet.

This gesture was accompanied by A Letter to the Man Who, in which another letter, written to a long-lost lover, was made available to individuals who met the artist in the park that once served as Riga's gay cruising area. Screen printed posters announced the action throughout the city centre and in the gallery. This action was repeated in London at Hampstead Heath in 2018, in an event organised by LUX.  

Other letters are shared in their entirety, either as exhibited artworks or printed in art publications. In A Letter of Apology, commissioned by Gallery 44 and published by Kapsula magasine, Nemerofsky reflects on how he failed to support a lover who announced he was HIV-positive in the early 1990s. 

In A Letter to Nathanaël, commissioned by artist Shaan Syed for his publication The Andrew Project in 2013, Nemer reflects on the changing psychic, sexual, and architectural landscape of contemporary Berlin.

The transcription and circulation of Nemer’s personal epistolary material is also central to the projects À fleurer, Prologues and Variations, and A Letter Condoning This Exhibition, a Letter Condemning This Exhibition.

Fragments from transcribed letters also appear in Nemer’s ongoing series of epistolary collages, which document and aestheticise his written correspondence with artists and literary figures.