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Jan K Coetzee



Type of book work: Unique / sculptural book-object (one-of-a-kind)
Dimensions: Museum case: 270 x 340 x 440
Media: Found and manipulated crucifix with antique printer's engraving, on antique book, on teak board, in acrylic museum case

Artist's / designer's statements

A sociologist by profession, specialising in narrative studies, I am intrigued by documents of life. I revel in having books and artworks around me: both contain texts, inviting us to decipher meaning. The two works entered for Booknesses embody and invite a hermeneutic process of unwrapping the meanings of ancient texts. All major religions premise themselves on translating some or other original revelation into an explanation of the here and now, an understanding of the past, and hope for the unknown. The two works depict the discourse and mystery in the construction and deconstruction of text and image.

Crucifix found in Jewish quarter in Kracow, Poland—stripped of paint and limbs. Book: Laymann, Paulo (1745). Theologiae Moralis. Venetiis: Apud Andream Poleti. Antique engraved printer's block.

Academic / Senior Professor of Sociology


MA, BD and DPhil (University of Pretoria)


Vice-Chancellor's Book Award, Rhodes University (2002)


Director of the programme The Narrative Study of Lives, University of the Free State
Current project: Books, times and lives (Documents of Life)


4 books on The Sociology of Developing Societies
4 books on Life Stories
More than 80 publications in accredited academic journals

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