Kinesis and Stasis conference

The Barbican
London, UK
27th November 2015
Organised by TECHNE

“Kinesis and Stasis, movement and stillness, embody an essential component of human life, and a fundamental dialectic within any culture. All entities move, and their social milieu evolve with them. Ever-newer waters flow onto those who step into the same river. Yet the constant state of flux and perpetual kinesis of our living world ultimately evokes an enduring stillness: change is the only permanence. Culture is an ever-present yet ever evolving form of sociality. Creativity is a moment of reflection and a moment of action, a mode of doing and being.” (http://techneconference.com)

The Kinesis and Stasis conference was held at the Barbican on 27th November 2015, and I was invited to present my paper ‘Fragments of Venus’. Taking my previous explorations of the Venus figure in art, I decided to present a threefold process of capturing movement in art: Firstly, my studies of the Venus sculpture by Antonio Canova described a way of navigating the object through drawing. Secondly, the Venus figure in 15th Century Florence incorporated a method for drawing movement in hair and drapery borrowed from antiquity, such as in the painting ‘The Birth of Venus’ by Sandro Botticelli. Lastly, the Venus as a motif in art and culture has perpetuated from Antiquity to the present day. This omnipresence represents the movement of pagan imagery, both geographically and temporally.

As well as providing evidence for the movement of iconography through Aby Warburg, Hugh Honour, and related topics such as Image Studies, I also discussed how my artwork had been influenced by these ideas. I showed how the initial drawings made from the sculpture had been digitally printed and then recreated into a geometric shape, in order to reassemble the drawing into a 3D form. The digital images were also bound into an artist book, reflecting the time-based element of both experiencing the sculpture and viewing the book. The presentation was supported by a selection of images from the artist book presented as an exhibition.

Bookbinding at the British Art Show

The British Art Show arrived at Leeds Art Gallery on 8th October 2015, and I was invited to participate in a socially engaged performance as a bookbinder as part of one of the selected works. The work in question was by Italian designer, Martino Gamper. Entitled ‘Post Forma’, it situated custom-designed, functional objects in the galleries to be activated by local artisans.

“Martino Gamper is a designer who resists the distinction between design and art. He describes his approach – which has seen him dismantle existing furniture, craft new items out of discarded ones and produce 100 chairs in 100 days – as both ‘conceptual and functional’.” (http://britishartshow8.com/artists/martino-gamper-1513)

In the foyer there was a beautifully inlaid bookbinding table which has been produced by Gamper and I was almost scared to use it in case my craft-knife accidentally slipped off the cutting mat. Alongside the table were seat frames waiting to be re-caned, and a cobblers chair (although all of the cobbling had to be done off-site, due to the nature of the machinery required). In the other gallery there was a loom for a weaver to work at. Each of the artisans worked in view of the public and answered questions about the project.

“As part of Post Forma [Gamper asked] the public to bring along belongings to be renewed rather than thrown away. This new commission [was] driven by Gamper’s interest in how an object can be transformed or reused and by interactions with the public.” (http://martinogamper.com/post-forma-british-art-show-8)

My role in the project was to rebind ‘treasured tomes’ which had been brought in by members of the public. Included in the materials to be used for this purpose was the bookcloth which had been screen-printed by another of the BAS artists, Ciara Phillips, as part of her own participatory practice. It was fascinating to see the kinds of things that people were willing to trust me with, and I heard stories about all the books, such as a unique edition of a self-published book by the audience member’s grandfather, a scrapbook of family history dating back 100 years, and a wooden bible from the 1950s.

It was also interesting to see people engaging with the process, and often visitors would stand for an hour or more watching each element of the book come together. During this time, they would ask about my work as an artist and tell me about their creative interests and endeavours, as well as finding out more about elements of the book making process. I really enjoyed being part of the artwork and it reminded me that people are still interested in craft and enjoy learning about how things are made.

AMBruno Editions @ Berliner Liste

Berliner Liste Art Fair 
POSTBAHNHOF, Berlin, Germany
18th – 21st September 2014

“With 112 galleries, from 24 countries, the BERLINER LISTE will once again be the largest of the Berlin art fairs. It will be held from 18th – 21st September as part of Berlin Art Week. The spectrum of exhibited art will range from contemporary painting, sculpture, drawings and graphics to installations, video art and performance. The new Editions Section will also present limited edition art including books, photography and small-format paper artworks. See more at www.berliner-liste.org

I’ll be exhibiting my Brimstone Almanac bookworks as part of this group show at Berlin Liste Art Fair. Artists from the AMBruno collective have been selected to exhibit their artist book and print work by curator Dr. Peter Funken. Exhibiting artists also include Barbara Greene, Cally Trench, Claire Deniau, Jane Grisewood, John McDowall, Judy Goldhill, Julie Johnstone, Kathryn Faulkner, Manya Donaque, Marco Cali, Philip Lee, Sharon Kivland, Sophie Loss, Steve Perfect, and Valerie Mary.

AMBruno 2008 – 2014

Bower Ashton Library 
UWE, Bristol, UK
3rd March – 3rd April 2014

“AMBruno is a coalition of artists with diverse individual practices, including painting, photography, video, performance, printmaking and sculpture, with a common interest in the medium of the book. First brought together in 2008, we are a London based group which has since grown to include artists from further afield.

Making books is challenging for most of us as artists working principally in other mediums, though it takes us out of the habitual into new spheres of thought, engaging in conceptual adaptation to a different methodology of a new medium.

New books are made for each event such as specialised book fairs and exhibitions. Since 2011 we have been working to a theme; a call for proposals is made, given a subject title to respond to, such as Blue, Lines, Black Circle, One-fold books. These may be taken as a formal, conceptual or referential springboard. As only a certain number of books can be shown, a process of selection is undertaken; the proposals (made anonymous) are given to an independent arbiter. A choice is made and the selected artists proceed with the production of their book. Working to a theme creates a mini show, a self-contained and cohesive body of work connected by the thread of the motif.

In addition to books, other projects of ours include film/videos to the constraint of 101 seconds duration, shown in New York. Surfaces: works on paper exhibited in Porto and 18 prints by 18 artists to the theme of I’m telling you stories. Trust me. for Multiplied at Christies in 2013.

Lists etc. is our current theme for at the Leeds Contemporary Artists’ Book Fair in March 2014, Gustavo Grandal Montero, Chelsea College of Arts Library, made the selection for this. The works will include favourite shirts that the owner can’t wear, failed collections, and an archeology of erotic writing.

Also to be exhibited at this event is Book Act, for this artists perform and embody the concept or essence of their book through the medium of film. The exhibition will comprise of the originating books and corresponding video work including live performances.”

Artists in the AMBruno 2008 – 2014 Bristol survey exhibition include: Alvin Watt, Ana Efe, Barbara Greene, Cally Trench, Charlotte Andrew, Christian Nyampeta, Clare Deniau, Francesca Galeazzi, Heidi Locher, Ingrid Jensen, Jane Grisewood, Joanna Hill, John McDowall, Judy Goldhill, Julie Johnstone, Karen Blake, Kathryn Faulkner, Louise Atkinson, Lydia Julien, Manya Donaque, Marco Cali, Mary Yacoob, Maureen O’Brien, Nancy Campbell, Paula Naughton, Penny Matheson, Philip Lee, Sara Dell’onze, Sharon Kivland, Shelley Rae, Sophie Loss, Steve Perfect, Valerie Mary and Veronica Pérez Karleson

 

Instructions

Artists’ Bookmarket 2013
Fruitmarket Gallery
Edinburgh, UK
20th April 2013

“The Fruitmarket Gallery is excited to introduce the third Artists’ BookMarket, this April. For one spring day, The Fruitmarket Gallery will transform into a marketplace where you will find unique artists’ books and publications for sale, come face to face with the artists who make them and join in book-making workshops. Stallholders are travelling to the Gallery from far and wide. You’ll find work to interest you from the likes of Switzerland, Canada, London and a bit closer to home too. 

The BookMarket programme of fairs, events and kiosks provides platforms for artists, designers, publishers and makers from the Gallery’s extended creative community to sell and present their work at The Fruitmarket Gallery. Recent events have served artists’ book makers, contemporary designers, art students and Scottish art publishers and have been occasions for networking, partnership-forming and driving sales.”

This year, I took part in the Fruitmarket Bookmarket with Artist Book Collective’s first curated stall on the theme of instructions. Taking inspiration from Fluxus, mail art and relational practice, each participating artist provided works for sale, loosely based on the idea of a guide, almanac or puzzle. I also be gave a talk about the history of the Artist Book Collective during the day. The artists in the show were Craig Atkinson, Black Dogs, Manya Donaque, Alex Hetherington (Modern Edinburgh Film School), Benedict Phillips, Louisa Parker, Archie Salandin, and myself. The curatorial brief was inspired by Fluxus, mail art and relational practice, so each artist provided book works which were loosely based on the idea of a guide, almanac or puzzle. A full list of images and text can be seen on ABCarchive. All in all, it was a very interesting experience and I even got to meet Alec Finlay!

Bound

Leeds City Library
Leeds, UK
14th – 24th August 2012

Bower Ashton Library
Bristol, UK
3rd December 2012 – 31st January 2013

Curated by Louise Atkinson
for Artist Book Collective

As part of Divided We Fall, the collective will present ‘Bound’ their first touring show as a way to strengthen connections within the group and promote books as an artistic medium.From the exploration of experimental binding techniques to more conceptual interpretations, such as the book as a ritual object, this new exhibition will investigate the notion of ‘bound’ in its myriad forms. Works will be also available for sale or commission.

The tour will begin at the Art Library of the Leeds Central Library, before continuing on to other venues, including The Centre for Fine Print Research in Bristol. The launch of Bound is the first stage in creating a permanent artist book archive for the collective in Leeds city centre. This will also be digitised online for the artists, researchers and members of the public to view.

For more information about viewing or buying works visit http://abcarchive.blogspot.co.uk

Other profiles:
https://www.facebook.com/artistbookcollective
http://www.flickr.com/groups/artistbookcollective
https://twitter.com/ArtistBookColl

Image: Darren Bryant, Jack in a Box, Vol 2, Concertina with Relief Etching and Collage, 2012

Towser Bothy

Th’Owd Towser
Holmfirth, UK
15th – 24th June 2012
Open Fri 5-9pm, Sat, 12-9pm & Sun 12-7pm
Curated by Alice Bradshaw & Vanessa HaleyTh'Owd Towser, HolmfirthAs part of the 2012 Holmfirth Arts Festival, the oldest building in Holmfirth, Th’Owd Towser, houses a temporary bar and zine library as the Towser Bothy. 

Upstairs, a new festival zine library features selected limited edition, handmade and self-published books and zines from artists across the world, on a unique Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau inspired ‘Hafzbau’ book stand, constructed by artist Bob Milner. Downstairs, two new Nook Brewhouse festival beers ‘Sedition’ and ‘Twisted In’ are served at a specially commissioned dry stone wall bar built by Luke Powell and Tom Blaker. 


Borrow a book or zine from the library and relax at the bar or under a Luddite inspired cyanotype print silk canopy by artist Bob Clayden. There is also a programme of events as part of the festival. To find out more see http://www.holmfirthartsfestival.co.uk
Zine library contributors are: Gijs Assmann, Tom Asz, Craig Atkinson, Louise Atkinson, Eva Bartussek, Tom Bevan, Lucy Cheung, W. Craghead, Black Dogs, Black Swan Collective, Black and White Cat Press, Joe Biel, Alice Bradshaw & Bob Milner, David Briers, Joanna Brinton, Kathleen Bryson, Andrew Burton, Anwyl Cooper-Willis, Charles Danby, Helen Dearnley, Oliver East, Becky Fawcett, Albert Foolman, Daniel Frost, Globe Gallery, Michael Hampton, Shelley Jackson & Ethan Clarke, Jonathan Johnson, John Kearns, Stuart Kolakovic, Sue Lawty, Hywel Lewis, Matthew Livesey, Loosely Bound, Melanie Maddison, Manchester Modernist Society, Jean McEwan, Sera Marshall, Milk Two Sugars, Jade Montserrat, Susan Mortimer, Lydia Moyer & Tony Wright, Peter O’Toole, Pest, Barry Edgar Pilcher, Betsy Rivers, Cristy Road, Rubric Journal, The Salford Restoration Office, Secret  Ideas, Soda Press & Big Dead Thing, Oli Smith, Cherry Smyth, Jenny Steele, Reginald Swinney, Andy Watson, Mandy Williams and Mary Yacoob.

I’m very excited to have been accepted to show work as part of the Towser Bothy. It’s given me some much needed impetus to create bookworks, as well as the opportunity to work with Alice Bradshaw and Vanessa Haley again. As this exhibition is in response to the 200th anniversary of the Luddite uprising, it was the perfect excuse to create editions of my ‘One Minute’ book.

‘One Minute’ is a mini flip book consisting of individual pages, each representing a second. The aesthetic of each page mimics a digital format, but the turning of the pages is entirely manual. In this respect, despite the number of pages suggesting one minute (60 seconds), the manual nature of the flip book is such that the reader determines the pace at which the pages turn, rendering the use of the book as a timekeeping device useless. However, although the book is a mockery of the digital device that it mimics, it also represents the idea that time is relative, not absolute.

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

Home from Home

153 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds

11th – 18th March 2011
Curated by Louise Atkinson
As part of Artist Book Collective

With ideas ranging from the domestic to displacement, over 80 artists from 7 different countries contributed to the Artist Book Collective exhibition around the theme of Home. 153 Woodhouse Lane was the setting, to be shown alongside the 14th Leeds International Artist Book Fair. As a spacious Victorian terrace situated over three floors, it was the perfect backdrop for this site-specific exhibition.
 
Artist Book Collective Home From HomeArtists responded to the brief through exploring and expanding on the book as a time-based medium, whilst also incorporating the notion of the Everyday.

Traditional book works as well as sculptural objects, text, narrative, video, furniture, audio and performance were represented throughout the show. The concept of Home evoked various associations, including our experience of domestic spaces in relation to their designated public/private status, as well as the collection and curation of personal possessions within those spaces. Often our sense of self and security is linked to feeling ‘at home’, insinuating that this sensation is not always related to a particular place or building.

 
At first glance, Home from Home created an impression of family, refuge and sanctuary, but upon closer inspection, it also began to uncover associated feelings of anxiety and uncertainty relating to superstition, illness and transience.
As a development of the Collective’s exhibitions, this show proved to me how much support and interest there was for the book arts in Leeds and how much more we could achieve. Even though the show only lasted a week we had fantastic comments and reviews, including this one from Debs Davies (aka @BasementArtsPro) on the@culturevultures blog.
It also sparked an interest in zine making for one contributor (@strawbleu) who produced his first zine as a catalogue/personal response to the show, and is now available to buy direct from him. We also set up the Flickr group for contributors to share images from the shows and fairs. To view the full list of artists and their work, visit the Home from Home page on the ABC archive.

Image: Melanie Alexandrou, Magpie Thunder Bureau, Mixed Media Installation, 2009-2011