This artist book is part of the work “The Presence of His Absence” which comprises photographs, a video installation, a sound piece and a live-performance. The protagonist is Bettina John’s Alter Ego Theodosia Fatale, a femme fatale lost in time and slightly confused about who she is and was. Her fragmented speeches and storytelling might make the audience feel slightly awkward while at the same time being smitten with her charm.
The book was first exhibited in 2014 at Trispace Gallery in South-East London as part of an artist book exhibition. Theodosia Fatale had a live appearance, giving a speech and inviting visitors for tea and cake. It is the only existing copy.
In the story Theodosia Fatale travels through India and her memories of a time “long gone”. The immanent question as to whether the protagonist really experienced those stories or only lives through dreaming them up doesn’t take away from the imagery and poetic style of the writing by Bettina John.