| Artists’ Books
University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Tom Trusky Exhibition Cases
Special Collections Room, Bower Ashton Library
Guy Begbie and Lawrence Upton
16th September - 27th October 2011
Guy Begbie and Lawrence Upton first met over a decade ago at UWE, Bristol and maintained considerable mutual respect; but without having any great contact.
The mere fact of living in different cities, and with busy lives, had discouraged collaboration which both experience as a physical rather than a cerebral activity, one arising from live presence and informal discussion.
In 2011, they were commissioned by the University of Dundee to collaborate in the making of an artists' book-work for an AHRC-funded research project: Poetry Beyond Text.
As a broad brush generalisation, one can say that one of Guy’s centres of attention is in making book- and book-related objects; while one of Lawrence’s is in making poems and vocal scores for performance; and in the performances themselves.
The collaboration has continued beyond the Dundee commission and has produced both a range of realised and planned works; and, also, a colloquial meditation upon what it means to collaborate which declares itself through the works.
It involves considerations of conscious and unconscious decision-making, the integration of differing skills and the reconciliation of aesthetic assumptions in order to achieve empathy, which, they suggest, takes them beyond mere cooperation as they seek to merge what is, clumsily, called individual creativity to achieve what might seem to be, in effect, the work of one mind, what Burroughs and Gysin termed “a third mind”.
Their work, however, does not seek to remove, disguise or smooth over different physicalities; it retains its gestural origins.
On show at UWE this autumn, among other items, will be two book works which have been shown in Dundee and Edinburgh this year (foreshore and engine / house) together with an ambitious large sculptural book called 'namely' previously exhibited at Center for the Arts in Buffalo USA.
foreshore is a concertina book of treated photographs; engine / house is a complex “popup” structure in which pages and show through perforations create and contain readable spaces.
Underlying these and all their works is the concept of reading, as itself performance and as (potential perhaps actual) utterance, areas of activity which they hope to expand as they explore them together.
There will be hints towards further future developments of their collaborative work.
There will be examples of bookworks in development, especially their ongoing theme / generic title 'island' and their new unconnected parallel theme / generic title 'fake'.
Both have a love of islands as such and as metaphor and symbol. (Much of the material in foreshore originated in photographs made on an “undeveloped” island and is presented as images which disclose boundaries within sensory experience.)
Their works are islands, both as separated material and as accretions and containments.
Apologies if this sounds fake. What matters to the reader-viewer is the works, which do not need elaborate vocabulary. Come and enjoy them.
Lawrence Upton, 2011
Lawrence Upton is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer and performer who works solo and in collaboration.
He has presented text-sound composition in UK, Brazil, France and USA with John Levack Drever. His book works with Guy Begbie have been shown in Dundee, Edinburgh, Buffalo and Bristol during 2010-2011. His work Anagram Gnos with Richard Tipping has appeared on DVD from ArtPoem in Australia and as a limited edition publication in UK. He performs regularly with violist Benedict Taylor and their work formed the basis of a video installation at Wysing Arts Centre in July 2011. He is researching / making polyvocal work with Tina Bass and others.
He was AHRC Creative Research Fellow in the Music Dept, Goldsmiths, University of London from 2008 till 2011; and has been a director of Writers Forum (wfuk.org.uk) since the death of its founder, Bob Cobbing, in 2002.
He curated the exhibition Variations on a theme of Bob at Space Studios, London in 2011.
His books include unframed pictures (Writers Forum 2011), Pictures, Cartoon Strips (Sound & Language, Ohio, 2011), a song and a film (Veer Books, UK, 2009), Water lines and other poems (Chalk Editions, USA, 2009), Scat Songs on a text by Chris Funkhouser (Xexoxial Editions, USA, 2008), Sculptural calligraphy (Writers Forum; 2006), and Wire Sculptures (Reality Street Editions 2003)
Guy Begbie is an established book artist and printmaker. He has been teaching in UK Universities since 1995. As a multi-disciplinary artist he makes solo and collaborative works that extend parameters regarding concept and production approaches to the book form. His current book arts practice concerns paper engineering, and the transition from the two to a sculptural three-dimensional. This is used as a means of interpretation of non-linear and sequential narrative, generated as a distillation of place.