The text in Sheets of Evidence is unique because it is so unconventional compared to other texts. Kentridge designed the book as an artist. Therefore, one doesn’t read the text straightforwardly. It should be processed as art.
Sometimes the text complements the art. Here is a page where the text reads: “Making a Place for the Secret” above a tray of fruit. The reader is supposed to connect the text with the picture, and, likewise, connect this page to the whole book. The book is about love and lovers and death. The reader should wonder about what this text means, not understand it upon first reading. It is supposed to make one’s mind wander.
This text says, in different fonts and boldness respectively, “Problems in Couplings,” and then “Three-inbed gambler wins bet, loses lover,” and “When you drink tea you are bringing a thief into the body. It goes to every little nerve worker and robs it of energy.” The differing of fonts and boldness helps the text to be read as artwork. These pieces of information are not necessarily related to one another. They are each a separate element that add another layer to the overall piece.
This page reads, in differing fonts and boldnesses respectively: “Table Decoration,” and then, “The Central Battery System,” and then, “Powers, Devices And Appliances,” and then, “Historical Notes on Transmitters,” and then, “Stomaco cattivo: vita di sofferenze! (1),” which means “Bad stomach: life of suffering,” and then, “MECHANICAL MOVEMENTS,” and then, “Contro il map di mare,” which means “sea-sickness”. This page is like the former. Each snippet connects to the other, but it is subtle. There are many motifs throughout the book of tables, and food, and mechanics. It is a comparison to the human body, and how two human bodies work together. One is supposed to connect these together by reading between the lines, like one does with poetry. The variations of size, styles, and boldness between the text emphasizes the difference between each piece of information and the difference between the subject figures in the book.
This page reads: “DINNERS FOR EIGHT PERSONS,” and then, “What Lies/ in Store/ What Lies/ in Wait/ What Lies/ Asleep.” The latter is in cursive handwriting, which cannot be replicated exactly digitally. This both shows the artist’s hand in the handmade nature of the book as well as the organic quality the book is trying to achieve. I mentioned earlier how the mechanical references reference the relationship between two humans. This handwriting bit contrasts with that, showing the organic and poetic nature of people.
This page shows indiscernible handwriting or symbols which appear to be overwritten by proofreading symbols. It then reads, “MINUTES OF A HARD HOUR.” This page, too, emphasizes human qualities. It shows a personal note that perhaps only the writer can distinguish. It could not be replicated on a machine at all. A machine could not recognize the lettering. It is here that art bleeds over into text, and text into art.