London Art Book Fair

Whitechapel Gallery
London, UK
23rd – 25th September 2011
Curated by Sophie Loss & John McDowall
As part of AMBruno

Just back from another productive weekend in London. The London Art Book Fair at Whitechapel Gallery was buzzing with the who’s who of the London Art Scene from Saatchi Gallery and Haunch of Venison to smaller galleries likeParasol and independent exhibitors such as David Faithfull.

Making the most of my time in the capital, I went to visit an independent artist bookshop and gallery in Hoxton calledbookartbookshop. I’d exhibited there in the past in a curated show by Foundry Press but hadn’t been able to visit till now. I was greeted with a small room chock full of weird and wonderful publications, all available to browse and buy.

I had already set my hopes on stocking my work there, and as luck would have it, I managed to catch up with Tanya, the friendly owner, back at the fair. Of course, a little forward planning and emailing helped too. So editions of Incidental Press artist books will now be stocked at bookartbookshop, hopefully in time for their centenary celebrations next year.

But it didn’t end there. On Friday, I decided to attend one of the talks held at the event by Felicity Allen, the former head of learning for Tate Britain. The lecture was all about her new book called Education about the role which art plays in learning and pedagogy. Again, I’d prepared for this eventuality with some hurriedly printed UIK enrolment forms and, after the Q&A, managed to offload one into her hands with a brief spiel about the project, before she rushed off to her book signing.

I was on a high after this coup and sauntered back to my co-exhibitors AMBruno, feeling pleased with myself. I noticed I was one book down since I last looked and enquired as to its whereabouts, expecting a routine sale, or more likely that it had just been moved. Claire looked at me with a huge grin and told me that a lady from the V&A had been and bought a copy of each of our books for their permanent collection!

The rest of the trip is a bit of a blur, but I also came back with a limited edition poster by Lucia della Paolera from the Information as Material stand, cataloguing a chronological list of all of the directives given to the author in one day.

Blue Book

This is the blue book created for the London Art Book Fair at the Whitechapel Gallery. The project was developed from a collaboration between myself and writer Gareth Durasow and sparks the launch of my new book venture – Incidental Press, the name for any of my future solo and collaborative publications.

The book explores written and verbal language as a primary form of communication to describe our subjective experience. Language also often attempts to evoke other senses such as reading a menu and ‘tasting’ the food before we order, amounting to a vague form of synaesthesia.

However, different subjectivities mean that language is often at best an approximation, what Derrida calls Différance: ‘the notion that words and signs can never fully summon forth what they mean, but can only be defined through appeal to additional words, from which they differ. Thus, meaning is forever “deferred” or postponed through an endless chain of signifiers’.

A particular example of this is the subjective experience of colour. Experiencing this purely visual with no objective context, it is impossible to imagine how someone else views the same colour. As with Derrida’s Différance, colour can also be changed in relation being seen in context with other colours. Producing a decorator swatch book of blue paint samples with associated names attempts to highlight this disconnect between word and image.

Image: Louise Atkinson & Gareth Durasow, Vintage Brecht, Artist book, 2011