Collection Online
brush and black and brown ink and pencil
(a-jjj) 250.8 × 985.5 cm (variable) (overall)
Place/s of Execution
Guadalajara, Mexico
(q) printed in ink on label on reverse u.c.: Jorge Méndez Blake (Guadalajara, Mexico, 1974) / Bartlebooth Monument, 2011-2015 / ink, pencil, paper / 50 x 70 cm each / (JMB 277)
inscribed in fibre-tipped pen on label on reverse u.c.: 17/62
printed in red and black ink on label on reverse u.c.: OMR T+ 52.55 | 5511 1179 Plaza Río de Janeiro 54 / | 5525 3095 México DF 06700
Accession Number
Contemporary Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Suzanne Dawbarn Bequest, 2017
© Jorge Méndez Blake
Gallery location
Members' Lounge
Ground Level, NGV International
Subjects (general)
Architecture Literary and Text Object Components
Subjects (specific)
apartments bathing beaches beaches buildings (structures) coastal landscapes coconut palm (species) condominiums (built works) parts (constituent portion)
Contemporary (style of art)
Bartlebooth monument presents the conclusion to an unfinished fictional project described in the novel Life, A User’s Manual (1978) by French writer Georges Perec. One of the protagonists is the millionaire Percival Bartlebooth, who embarks on a life-long project to produce 500 watercolours of ports and beaches during a twenty-year trip around the world. Once completed, Bartlebooth despatches each painting to a master craftsman in Paris to turn it into a jigsaw puzzle. After two decades Bartlebooth returns home and begins to assemble the jigsaws. Once completed, each work is sent back to the port where it was painted and soaked in a solution, whereupon the blank painting is returned to Bartlebooth, leaving no trace of his life’s work. Tragically, Bartlebooth dies while working on a jigsaw, having finished only 438 of the planned 500 puzzles. Méndez Blake’s piece presents the missing sixty-two drawings of ports and beaches, which are in the process of fading into nothingness.