Artists’ Books Exhibitions in the Bower Ashton Library cases, UWE, Bristol, UK

Wuon-Gean Ho - The Orchis Library

1st February – 28th February 2017


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The Orchis Library started from the notion of the body as a book. Each Orchis book contains a single print that spans three mountain folds and two valley folds, depicting a dark mass of abstract bodies, fabric and foliage. Rather than a photographic or logical view, the shape and forms within are generated from a depiction of elusive things such as the feelings and the sensation of being inside one’s own skin. The visual representation of body position, muscle memory, and distortion is focused around a point that radiates from an inner eye of the narrator, an anamorphic central point that tilts perspective against gravity.


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Using a simple accordion fold allows for the translation of page to volume. The books invite the viewer to interact with the pages in order to emphasise or reduce sequences of events. Turning the page stretches limbs, demonstrates syncopation, crushes and expands the timeline. The landscapes that result flow and merge from bodies into plants and flowers, jungle and folded fabric, between figures that are solid and those that seem to shimmer and disappear.

If the body is enclosed in the book, equating paper with skin, then skin smells of black ink.


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The word Orchis is the ancient Greek word for testicle, after which Orchid flowers were named, owing to the shape of their bulbs. (In Old English too, the same parallel was made, and Orchid bulbs were called dogstones). The luxuriant feminine aspect of the Orchid flower, and the masculine shape of their roots imbues the word Orchis with an aspect of sexuality. This is apt, as themes of the prints include sexuality, touch, and a blurring of physical boundaries.


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Horizontal lines that run throughout the images mimic scanning technologies, suggesting surveillance and a digital screen. In fact the lines are hand carved and are an analogue rendition of sculptural form. When viewed closely, they are obviously rendered with a subjective stroke, but the overall effect is to create a filter that adds to the abstraction. The ambiguity between subject and background, between pattern and environment, alongside hidden codes and narratives is deliberate. Strong repeated diagonals of pale and dark depict shafts of light, and point towards a change of pace and scene.

http://www.wuongean.com