Printed on the occasion of an exhibition of the work of Robert Seydel at Smith College, Mortimer Rare Book Room, September 2nd – December 15th, 2014.
A prolific artist and writer, Robert Seydel (1960-2011), left behind a multi-layered, highly original body of work marked by both an unrelenting sense of play and an extraordinary and eclectic body of knowledge. Seydel’s ongoing and interrelated series incorporated collage, drawing, photography, narrative and lyric writing, often using various personas and fictional constructs. Beginning in 2000, Seydel created a vast series of works using the alter ego Ruth Greisman, who was inspired by his aunt of the same name, including the “journal pages” collected in A Picture Is Always a Book (Siglio, 2014) and the works Seydel himself selected for Book of Ruth (Siglio, 2011). Other Seydel alter egos and invented personas include S., author of the Songs of S. (Siglio and Ugly Duckling Presse, 2014), Saul Greisman (“scholar of sewage”), Eckstein-Sousa (“sometimes lecturer and a kind of [failed] poet with Proustian leanings”), and R. Welch (a professor developing a theory of “the biochemical construction of Charismatic figures”), among others.