| Artists’ Books Exhibitions
University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Tom Trusky Exhibition Cases
Special Collections Room, Bower Ashton Library
Bronwen Bradshaw - Reading Room
A video commissioned by SAW Ltd
1st February - 7th March 2011
I live and work at Dove Studios, near Glastonbury, and make prints, books, music and video. I also teach regular printmaking and book courses from my studio and elsewhere. All the book artists featured in Reading Room have attended my handmade books classes.
I started working with video 7 years ago and quickly discovered that it was an exciting extension to my world of print, artists' books and sound. The link between video and the other disciplines seems to me to be the narrative, the series, the thread, and in particular (which interests me the most): the process and how to describe it.
The Reading Room project came out of a video commission I was awarded by Somerset Art Works in 2010. I was asked to describe how artists go about making work: their passions and methods. I chose the subject of book artists as I have often gazed at people busily cutting, scoring, folding, gluing, sewing etc on my studio tables, and listened to the evocative sound of paper shuffling and riffling, and thought: that would make a good film.
Wisely or unwisely I avoided storyboarding the film. I felt that the material was a storyboard in itself, and that the narrative would unfold from the artists’ stories. Almost immediately I realised I had set myself a hard task: a movie needs movement, and a book is a still object. How to animate a book became my quest.
As the project continued and developed it also became apparent how many different skill bases the artists came from, and how the skills themselves directly informed and moulded inspiration, image and text into book form. By definition, it seems, book artists are passionate about a multitude of processes and forms, and endlessly inquisitive and experimental.
Reading Room was first shown at the Taunton Brewhouse in September and October 2010. I constructed a small dark “Room” of black theatre curtains, and projected the video onto a central white table. Also included in the Room were glass cases housing the books featured in the film. The Room itself was quiet, as the sound was available through headphones only: this, I hoped, would create the atmosphere of a library reading room. The images from the video were reflected in the glass cases and the installation finally acquired the kaleidoscopic, beguiling quality I had had in my mind from the beginning.
Bronwen Bradshaw RWA