Art & Lies


Of course I now realise that I should have been keeping an account of my experience regarding my return to making artists books right from the start, i.e., from about February 2011.  At the end of 2012,  I took on a commitment to make an edition of 10 - 15 artists books.  Part of the reason that I didn't keep a record of my progress right from the start,  was because I was so overwhelmed at the prospect.  Being as I am not one of those lucky printmakers who is technically gifted - I mean I do know my own limitations........part of me wondered if I would be up to the task and yet if I truly felt incapable surely I would not have taken it on at all.    

I had come across a woman called Sara Bowen a few years back, she was somehow linked to UWE where there's a department called the CFPR and they do things related to artists books as well as to printmaking that's up to date as in exploring new  technology and so on.  In  fact I really had established a link with that place (UWE)  from when I first attended the Impact Printmaking Conference which was held there in 1999.   That was the very first one. I was at Wimbledon at the time doing a Masters degree in printmaking.

Sara who is British,  is a fine artist, who lived in the south of England until moving to Australia as an adult.  I think that was about 5 years ago.
She initiated and coordinated a  collaborative book art project under the auspices of "BookArtObject" (BAO), which resulted in about 8 artists outputting a batch of artists books in 2009 based on a particular piece of text from a literary work.    
The year 2010,  saw another two briefs being set AND this time one of the authors was Jeanette Winterson, as I had reas Oranges are not the Only Fruit, I thought this has got to be good.   which I am working with.  There are about 10 other artists involved in this project.  
The strategy was that a brief of for example a piece of text was presented and the artists would each interpret the text as they wished and produce an edition of artists books in response to this.  
Upon their completion the artists exchange the books between one another.  That's it in essence.

The brief on this occasion is from a book called "Art and Lies" by Jeanette Winterson.

I have just spent an hour and more looking through my huge container of folders on my desktop computer, in an  attempt to locate my hand written original response notes, to this piece of text

...................and then of course I became distracted looking up links within my original visual notes inside the folders and research to items starting with angels.  This resulted in explorations into the world of angels (which brought me to the wonderful 


Ancient Egypt

Leonardo Da Vinci

and of course the generation of my own angel imagery:

Mummy Angel ?

which I seem to remember were a figurative form that I initially had notions of including.  I was thinking along the lines of the sum of all human knowledge being represented by the human form and  vis a vis in the form of an angel with the opening and closing of its wings being like a book.
 Of course the text had mentioned all of these misfortunate boys being there for the service of the others to get the books for them (the knowledge) so of course I  had this idea of incorporating the slaves which I had in mind I would make into some kind of repeatable shape ( perhaps the mummy shape) but somehow arranged inside the schematized angel shape.

So I undertook extensive research into visuals relating to the slave trade of the Atlantic triangle.  At some point I was even considering using  the diagramatic layout of the infamous Brookes Slave ship. I even managed to get the largest download possible of this on the internet and started cleaning it up and moving the slaves around to allow for more space in between the rows so that one could see the wood for the trees.   I had ideas of combining these which I really liked BUT that was beginning to become extremely complicated and I knew that I would not be able to do that  as  an edition.  Maybe in the future as a unique piece of work, either as an artists book or as an installation. 

I ended up finally (this evening)  at Archimedes lab dot orgs' web page on the fascinating work "CODEX SERAPHINIANUS" by  Italian Luigi Serafini.

This being something with which I was previously familiar - but it is as if in that work the author was seeking to express something almost inexpressable. I refer particularly to his use of a language he himself, invented with which to create the codex.  This codex has the appearance, to an extent, of something along the lines of an encyclopaedia - something we are all familiar with.

This in a sense is how I find it - almost ineffable ( is that a word ? - I believe it to be meaning that which is unsayable (and not because the cats got your tongue) but because it is so difficulat to put into words.

In beteween I went again to the summarised biography of medieval abbess  Hildegarde of Bingham, who created a Lingua Ignota to communicate or express  her special visualization 

of devine beings.Taken from the Reisen Codex, examples of her glossary include:  
"Aieganz" : angelus : angel
"Vanix" :  femina : woman

Apparently there were just over a thousand words that she used although I only came across about 30 in the article I read concerning her, which were extracted from a study (book) written by someone called Roth in 1880.


Reise Codex

Codex Seraphinianus



Hildegard Binghams artworks (selection)


The Book Art Object Website


Here are some photos of the work involved in making the edition.
I tried out various formats to see what it was like to make them and whether I could actually do them.
I used the internet and books I have had for ages about book art.

Tri- fold book format cut from 3 mm mill board, with help from Bill McK at FDPW.  This took about 4 hours as it was so difficult to cut and manipulate.  Inspired by seeing an example of some pieces created by Dorothy Krause who was a fellow exhibitor in the Falun Graphic Triennial in 2007, in Sweden.  Her  book about creating artists books is called "Book and Art".  It is definitely one that I would recommend,  if this is an area you wish to explore whether you have experience or not.  It inspires one to explore and create............... and thats important.

After I got the tri fold 'book' base cut out from heavy mill board - which took almost 4 hours with Bills help.( at FDPW)........I thought it best to make another one made from other board to use as a mock-up.

Many hours were dedicated to trying to cut perfectly square book board at Fife Dunfermline Printmaker workshop with the assistance -  I might add of Bill Mc Kechnie ( I couldn't have done it otherwise) .  IT was really hard going cutting this board - I would never use this again.  

This is a mock up large book made using a single section stitched with some old reject intaglio prints I had lying around the studio.  At that stage as far as I knew I was going to be using Hahnemuhle paper for the book  which is why I used that kind of paper.  That pink looking image is a wood intaglio I had spent ages carving.  The figure was eventually used in emboss form,  on the final cover. 

Getting the spine right with these large book trials was the thing that was most difficult to resolve.  Hence the focus is on that, in this photo.

Getting the paper to paste successfully onto the board was also troublesome.  It would look fine but then later I would notice imperfections as in little puckers.

This book above was made with the help of my friend Tatiana and it was a real struggle to get the text block NOT TO MOVE when one opened and closed the book.  So we used a Chinese paper which was soft and pliable and that was the most successful of all.  It was just a test so thats why it has the peculiar black graphic where it is.  This book is made from trace monotypes that didn't work out but I quite like the little book and may use it as a basis for an individual book at a later date.


Here you can see the page being flipped

through, in video format

These are the  exhibition that INIMOIS has been in,  2011 and 2012

Exhibitions     2011

Venice Bienniale  Serra dei Giardini, Viale Garibaldi,Castello Venezia

Impact VII Printmaking conference Australia – Exhibition of BookArtObject Edition 2 – artists books.

Art Bound   Gallery Red, NSW  Australia  International bookart exhibition.

Exhibitions       2012

Between the Sheets, Gallery EAST, Freemantle, Perth,  Australia

Big Print Small Print – SSA
displayed in this exhibition which represents the Society  of Scottish at  the Wroclaw Academy of Fine Arts Poland exhibition.

6th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2012.

Venice -  6th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2012 on display  at  “Scuola Internazionale di Grafica”, Venice, Italy.

No comments:

Post a Comment