Veronika Schäpers, First You Have to Prove It To Me

15 December 2021

Schäpers, Veronika. First You Have to Prove It to Me : Das Mussen Sie Mir Erst Einmal Beweisen. Karlsruhle, Germany: Schaepers, 2021.

One new artists’ book that contrasts our current moment with historical tracts is First You Have to Prove it to Me by Veronika Schäpers. First You Have to Prove It To Me highlights misinformation and conspiracy theories inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this book, artist Veronika Schapers uses 24 photograms opposite two texts–a contemporary short story on a modern conspiracy theorist by H.M. Hartmann and excerpts from the 1679 treatise on the “popish plot” by Titus Oates.  The photograms are photographic images made without a camera. The artist places an object directly onto the surface of a light-sensitive material (like photographic paper) and then exposes it to light. Schäpers writes, “In particular, the aspect of a physically grounded alienation caused by the refraction of light – depending on the materiality of the object being depicted – along with the color inversion inspired me to use the photogram method, since it lends the objects a somewhat surreal aura.”

Another notable feature of this books is the hinged slipcase. In Schäpers artist’s statement, she describes it as “a construction consisting of two interlocking slip-cases that open to a 90-degree angle so the sheets can be removed. This somewhat labyrinthine form not only corresponds to the folding of the individual layers, but also mirrors the thoughts of a conspiracy theorist, erratic and resistant to logical arguments.” 

You can find additional books by Veronika Schäpers in Special Collections. Contact Special Collections to learn more.

hinged slipcase
Hinged Slipcase, “First You Have to Prove it to Me,” by Veronika Schäpers