|Regenerator : altered
books project exhibition
Off-Centre Gallery, Bristol
Weds 25th April - Friday 11th May 2007
For a full list of particpating artists and examples of their work, click here.
An online article from the New York Times in April 2006, about an altered books project inspired us to do something similar. Long Overdue: Book Renewal was a collaboration between Maine College of Art and the Portland Public Library. Books that had been retired from the library's collection were given to 200 artists who then turned them into works of art. These works of art were then re-entered into their library system and became available for check out to anyone in the country, thanks to the Inter Library Loan system. The books from that project can be viewed online at : www.meca.edu/GalleriesExhibitions/Longoverdue.aspx
This instigated something similar with the books that had been boxed up for withdrawal from our School's art library at Bower Ashton. Due to space, the library didn’t want them back, so this became an artists’ exchange project. We had a selection of books from hardback to paperback, novels, old exhibition catalogues and manuals, some in good condition, some very worn with missing covers or pages.
82 artists took part, selecting a book from the list and returning it after they had created a new piece of work with it. The books were sent out to artists in the United Kingdom, EIRE, Australia, Germany, USA, Denmark, Norway and South Africa to work with and return by March for archiving and photographing before the exhibition and swap.
We had a brilliant response, with some absolutely beautiful creations made from old and ragged books. From altered books - which still resemble the original - to sculptures, paper cuts and objects made from the books’ pages, and poster series and a sound piece based on the site of the original book; there is a huge variety of wonderfully regenerated bookworks to see.
Regenerator has reanimated the discarded library books into artists’ books and related artworks through sending them out to artists to work on and swap back with each other. Library staff from Bower Ashton will make a draw from a hat during the exhibition, to swap the books back artist by artist.
After the exhibition, the project, and each of the books will be permanently archived here on our bookarts website, with working notes from the artists and images of the books.
One of the books in the exhibition will be returning to the library by special request from the artist Steve McPherson. McPherson is meticulous artist, his artists’ books often take years to complete, with him spending up to three months per page. These are all hand worked in a variety of processes, with hand stitching, photographs, found objects, hand lettering and drawings. McPherson is reworking Elias Canetti’s Auto Da Fe at his own pace, which will be kindly donated to our library’s artist book collection by him on completion.
The artists’ books made for the regenerator project were swapped by Sarah Clifford and Lynn Williams of Bower Ashton Library, UWE Bristol on Thursday 17th May 2007 at 11.45am.