| Artists’ Books Exhibitions
University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Quiet Room Cases, Bower Ashton Library
The Caseroom Press and Kurt Schwitters' Merz Fairy Tales
Friday 13 April - Wednesday 30 May 2012
The Caseroom Press
Irvine Peacock, Barrie Tullett and Philippa Wood are a collective called The Caseroom Press; an independent publisher whose work explores the function and format of the book, from single limited editions to multiple copies; from poetry to prose; from the artist's book to traditional print; from stencils, to typewriters, to wood and metal type; from litho to digital. This exhibition showcases a range of books, objects and ephemera. They range from individual pieces to wider collaborations, notably The MerzBox: a selection of works by a number of illustrators, designers, painters, poets, sculptors, students and musicians.
Kurt Schwitters was a Dadaist, Constructivist, Surrealist, poet, graphic designer, composer, typographer, painter and sculptor, he also wrote fairy tales. Our ongoing project uses thirty-seven of his stories as a starting point for a series of responses gathered together under the title of The MerzBox.
The artists involved have so far produced illustrations, paintings, poetry, made objects, books, experimental music and a choreographed performance with dancers.
As educators, the research practice of Irvine, Barrie and Philippa feeds back into their teaching practice. We therefore wanted to involve students in the project and invited Angie Butler from UWE to give a talk about Artists' Books to our art & design students at the University of Lincoln; subsequently the Graphic Design and Illustration students were each given a Merz Tale to respond to as they saw fit. The only restriction to their creativity was that their work had to physically fit into a MerzBox. Interpretations of the stories varied greatly, some using the text in its entirety, some developing completely new narratives, including typographic and playful variations on the traditional notion of a book, or sometimes a single image summing up or reflecting a personal response the stories.
This is publishing in the broadest sense, producing a diverse body of artwork and an ever-changing exhibition, which takes the form of a portable show in a box. The two Merzbox Guardians included here function like Showmen or Barkers at a fairground side show drawing the viewer’s attention to the artwork their MerzBoxes contain.
It is an ongoing project and very much a work in progress - Our ambition being to engage with the spirit, rather than the look, of Merz.
Also on show are some of the original black and white illustrations from the book Lucky Hans and other Merz Fairy Tales, published by Princeton University Press (2009). The text is used by kind permission of Jack Zipes, Emeritus Professor, The University of Michigan.
The Caseroom Press Website
The Caseroom Press Blog
The Merzbox Project Flickr Group Site