Andrew Norris 1988 - 2008
Simultaneous 20th Anniversary retrospective exhibitions of Artists' Books in City Library of Zagreb, Croatia, and Bower Ashton Library, Bristol, England.
8th September – 8th October 2008
The artists' books, book-works and book-objects that I have been making over the past 20 years have, as a common theme, the landscape. Here my interest lies not only in the way we read the landscape but also of our individual relationship to it. Works in this genre of art-book-object range from editioned books typeset by fine presses, Sites, Signs and Ancient Shrines, (1995), to multiple copies produced by photocopiers, Straight Track - Crooked Path, (1991), unique books resembling artworks, Lijepa nasa domovina, (1992), to limited- editioned books where each page is hand painted, Rise up sticks - Stand still stones, (2002), or to a simple object that becomes the means for carrying a text, Sickle Moon, (2008)
This form of creative work in many ways defies being adequately labeled since there are examples of artists' books that cross other disciplines, into painting, from Field Songs, (2007), and sculptural forms, Calm Splash Ripple Ripple Calm, (1993), to film and animation, Searching for the Uffington White Horse, (2006), so that any resemblance to what is generally understood of as a 'book' becomes increasingly remote. The actions of 'opening', 'turning a page' and 'closing' that are so familiar with books has evolved, in one example, to simple 'rotating', Endless sentence on the word 'Earth' (2002), where through this process the text is revealed and from which the reader creates their own narrative.
My interest over the years lies in exploring what I consider to be the special qualities of 'books' rather than the familiar appearance of them, the way in which a book gradually reveals its content page by page, detail by detail or even word by word, yielding at its own pace its narrative and its potential while engaging the reader in a moment of quiet contemplation. Therefore, I consider a stick, with its text spiraling along its length, A Wood Some Trees, (2002/2008), a mathematical construction that twists and turns to meet words with images, River, Rocks and Foliage, (1991), or a cow-hide covered frieze of friesian cows, Herd, (1993) as falling under the same 'artists' book' genre. In common, too, these works have a tactile quality, satisfying to hold and explore with the hands.
The form of each of my art-book-works is determined by its content and it happens that the same idea will appear in a variety of forms, since the format itself will always bring something different to the content. It is this variety that I am exploring through the works broadly titled, POETree, and e ART h works where an idea can occur in different versions altering the way in which it is read and its meaning interpreted.
Both shows open on 8th September to coincide with the International Day of Literacy. To make the joint venue exhibition possible, the majority of books have been lent for the UWE, Bristol show by: Trudi Waller, Joan Brooks, Martin Norris, Andrew Norris and the Centre for Fine Print Research. Straight Track - Crooked Path; River Rocks and Foliage; Sticks and Stones and Bricks and Bones, and Herd have been lent by Tate Library (www.tate.org.uk).
Includes images and video animations of a number of book-works, plus a short film of both installations in Zagreb and Bristol.
Includes images of a grass book, Lijepa naša domovina (Our beautiful homeland), created after my first visit to Croatia in 1992.