| Artists’ Books Exhibitions
University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Tom Trusky Exhibition Cases
Special Collections Room, Bower Ashton Library
Artists’ Books As Document
Curated by Natalie McGrorty, UWE Bristol
8th March 2011 - 25th April 2011
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from a simple personal journal though all the complicated transactions of civilization, to the spiritual vision. Books are vessels of human experience
as it is worked through and passed on to others. They embody our activities and intentions, our schemes and our insights; our various journeys,
both individual and collective.
(The Book As Vessel A Catalogue of the 1991 Oregon Book Biennial. p.3)
From a young age we are intimately acquainted with books and they have long provided a holding space in which to record human experience, enabling stories and ideas to be collected and preserved. The book form itself offers a degree of privacy for its contents, revealing or concealing its innermost secrets in a controllable and intimate way, making it ideal for use as a diary or lending itself to work of a personal nature.
Today we have at our disposal the means to document and share our lives in a growing number of ways, both physically, and virtually through the Internet. Yet, in a culture engulfed by the outpouring of information, artists’ books offer a creative alternative for working with and recording personal experience and ideas in a more considered and creative way. In contrast to other more ephemeral types of document, artists’ books provide something desirably tangible and long lasting, and are often engaging in form as well as content. The tactile nature of these books not only invites interaction and engagement but demands such interaction if the work is to be animated and its content revealed. Held in close proximity to the body, the viewer partakes in the intimate performance of the book’s contents, gaining insight into another’s world with the turning of each page. Additionally, the sequencing provided by the pagination of the book form can enhance and reflect the aspect of time which underpins so much of self-documentation, allowing a story to unfold in a sequence proposed by the artist and at a pace determined by the viewer.
In terms of production, photography, photocopying and digital scanning increasingly facilitate documentational work, providing a fast and efficient way of documenting artifacts and events pertaining to daily life. The facility to make copies of personal documentation allows items to be used that might otherwise be considered too precious to part with, or too awkward to include in book form. More traditional methods of reproduction are still very much in use however, such as drawing, screen-printing, Letterpress and Lithography.
Researching acts of self-documentation, with regard to my own practice, led me to curate this exhibition and I am delighted to present such a diverse collection of work.
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The artists exhibiting are:
Ahlrich van Ohlen, Bea Nettles, Caryl Burtner, Donald Baechler, Francis Elliott, Frans Baake, Genie Shenk, Harland Miller, Imi Maufe, Kenneth Goldsmith, Kristen Merola, Laurie Clark, Lucy May Schofield, Michael Landy, Sally Alatalo, Sarah Bodman, Scott McCarney, Skúta, Sophie Calle, Susan Johnson, Susan Kae Grant, Tom Sowden and Victoria Lucas.
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