Time for a quick reminder that the By Leaves we Live Book Fair is once again taking place at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh in September. From The SPL's website:
By Leaves We Live 2010: A celebration of artists' books and small presses
The annual one day fair at the Scottish Poetry Library. Browse a range of stalls and displays, and choose from events running throughout the day.
Saturday 25 September 2010, 11-6 pm.
The annual one day fair at the Scottish Poetry Library.
* Stalls, displays and talks.
* Drop in to browse or buy
* Meet publishers, artists, editors, and poets from Scotland and beyond
* Listen to talks artists' books and publishing
* Bookbinding workshops
For readers, writers, artists, designers, publishers – all welcome. All events are free.
I love what they're doing over at Owl and Lion in Edinburgh. I'm particularly intrigued by a posting back in May for a 'collective'effort they're calling The City and the Book - La Citta`E il Libro:
"We shall begin each session by exploring Edinburgh. By taking inspiration from the city, we shall capture the everyday things around us, as well as places and events we encounter. By creating these visual diaries, we shall later combine the stories and ideas into Artists Books."
This combining of the urban -- perhaps the democratic (demos=city population) -- with the book comes up frequently. There are links between the senses of community people variously feel in cities, groups or, indeed, collectives, and the abstracted and powerfully mobile 'republic of letters' that books of all sorts come to represent. Are galleries and other entities like Owl and Lion who set up events like this enriching our sense of community through artists' books?
Alex Hartley at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh- Hartley is a 'builderer', meaning he climbs about on the surface of human-constructed objects. The photographs in this exhibition are of several main sorts. One records his buildering exploits, with the artist perched, clinging or splatted against various concrete, brick and stone surfaces, whilst others are photos of buildings where possible routes are mapped out with lines superimposed on the surface of the photos. Other work was of 'stolen' images of various private modernist homes (which Hartley later began clambering about on, in an attempt to get closer still to the buildings). He also creates sculptural pieces that include ;ife-size photos behind glass intended to create model spaces we have some voyeuristic access to, but into which we can never go.
This tension between our legitimate gaze and trespass is brought up time and again by Hartley in these pieces, and taken further in his buildering, which represents a particular form of creatively-motivated trespass. It is twofold: it involves his physical trespass on the property, and the wrongness of his encounter with the building in a way never intended by the architect. His body looks wrong, splatted against these surfaces. The architectonic framing of the modernist (and other) spaces he transgressses usually support the human being in a simple perspectival plane, not tilted at strange angles into crevices. The lines of ascent and traverse on other pieces represent the same thing- this time the line of looking for routes that deny the usual architectural progress through designated volumes.
Some photos involve a sort of collage of materials (wood, plastic) assembled in detailed form like architectural models, reading right into the photographic space, but projecting from it. The collage obscures any underlying image that might inform the object's construction. They might represent things that are 'really' in the photo, or they might not.
(Hartley's process of 'imagining what might be there' tells me there's nothing beneath') But the point is that it doesn't matter. Our imposition on the real landscape being photographed is every bit as transitory and flawed as the constructions Hartley glues onto the photo's flat surface. Hartley's constrcted buildings are always either flawed or deserted, the titles implying some sort of hiding place or flight from the inevitable. I think this ties in with the ravages of weather and time that are depicted in various other works. Inevitably, buildings turn to ruins. Inevitably, the aesthetic and ideological concerns of our culture are deconstructed by our traversing them in a new way. Hartley's art puts him in the position of an active participant in the ongoing conversation of what our built environment (and our representation of it, both in art and in language) means.
I went to see the William Kentridge show at Edinburgh Printmakers on Saturday. I'll write more about this shortly:
Thinking of him as an example for practice
commentary on narrated images
compare to Alex Hartley- surface line issue/the negotiation of contour
various strategies of continuation/assemblage/narrative. Held together by drawing itself
This little stone comes from the shore in South Queensferry, where I grew up. I've had it on my desk for several years, reminding me where I come from. I use it as a sort of meditation aid and "worry bead". I know its contours and composition so well I can handle it in my imagination almost as well as real life. It's partly quartz, so the light shines through, it's cool and smooth. It means a lot to me.
I'm an artist using digital and print media to make artists books and related pieces.