1. a prefix meaning “not,” used as an English formative, giving negative or opposite force in adjectives and their derivative adverbs and nouns.

2. a prefix used in English to form verbs expressinga reversal of some action or state, or removal, deprivation, release, etc., or to intensify the force of a verb already having such a meaning.


Kafka’s Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) confronts its protagonist with the surreal prospect of turning into an Ungeziefer. Variously translated as ‘insect’, ‘bug’ or ‘monstrous vermin’, the English term for the Middle High German is left undefined in the text; the literal meaning of ‘unclean animal not suitable for sacrifice’ does not fully convey the terrible alienation and disgust the transformation brings. We must wonder if the butterfly is ugly to the caterpillars.

Starting with the untranslatable ideas of beauty and of transforming meaning as well as form – Un – combines a fold-out book structure with an origami chrysalis shroud.

un cover

The English language contains almost 4000 words prefixed by un, these words back the structure, the negatives on the reverse so to speak.

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