Frida Escobedo: The Book of Hours
Perhaps as ubiquitous as smartphones today, the books of hours were a private necessity in Europe during the Middle Ages. These manuscripts contained collections of texts that were meaningful to each owner, as well as an organized method of structuring the day around prayer by marking the passing of the canonical hours. Although highly personalized, with intricate miniatures and illuminations, all books of hours contained sections to be recited at regular intervals throughout the twenty-four hours of the day. In them, the public and the private timescales converged, crystallized into a material, perdurable form not devoid of beauty.
“The Book of Hours” by Frida Escobedo is a modern exegesis of this extinct devotional practice: a project in which twenty-four objects were photographed at different intervals of time to capture their evolution, making a new calendar of matter and light. As humanity has transitioned to a secular understanding of time in which hours are organized and conceived in terms of productivity, “The Book of Hours” interrogates the place of contemplation in our era, its possibility and necessity. Through this book – a public display of a private collection of objects – readers are invited to contemplate these arrays of matter and experience the ways in which they once interacted with light, that burning needle in time’s template.
Frida Escobedo (*1979) established her eponymous architectural studio in Mexico City in 2006. She studied architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City before completing a master’s degree in art, design and the public domain at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Her studio’s reputation has achieved global scope since 2018, when she received the prestigious appointment to design the annual Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens, becoming the youngest architect at the time to undertake this project. In 2022, she was appointed as the architect to design the new Modern & Contemporary Wing for The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, becoming the youngest and first woman to design a building for the institution.
Dimensions: 180 × 320 mm
Design: Maricris Herrera
Publisher: Lars Müller Publishers