The Falcon Bride is now safely installed at the Sussex Barn Gallery until sunday 11th of November - open weds - suns 11.30-3.30.
In her text panel and gallery hand-out curator Sharon Michi-Kusunoki wrote the following-
Artist's books are a unique genre and by their nature, difficult to define. they not only challenge the definition itself, but, in actuality, defy categorisation altogether. In the installation, the Falcon Bride, Carolyn Trant examines how critical issues such as memory, text, history and myth can be constructed in a way that expands the confines of a book into something in which active participation is not only recommended, but is a necessity. Here the gallery acts as a vessel binding together the narratives provided by the viewer's own personal and/or collective memories.
In the installation, Trant sets the scene in what appears at first glance to be a Polish cafe with haunting prints on the wall, hand painted books arranged on a table, and an array of fascinating hand-made objects and reconstructed cultural artifacts - some conceptual, some fetishistic. What is important here is not merely what is shown, but what is experienced....in essence, the experience of a book.......
I am very grateful to Sharon for taking on this idea of a 'room-sized book' so enthusiastically and imaginatively. The scale of the barn that is the gallery is twice that of the Star Gallery, but the sence of intimacy is retained by the low and dramatic lighting levels. As you enter the first thing you see is the hand-painted block representing a book cover with a painted title, as on my notebooks - see the image below. The title block conceals the bride.
Alongside the panel, up above on the sides of the mezzanine walls, are 6 of the images from the Boat Book - as also reproduced on the invitation card, reproduced to 2 metres by a metre and a half, in an imposing processional sequence - giving me the feeling, in the gloom, of almost the impression one might get from entering a megalithic tomb with a processional sequence of hieroglyphs.
The boats have been re-made twice the size, with six foot masts reaching from floor to mezzanine ceiling. They have different psychological effect as they are now viewed from the viewers own level rather than raised on a pedestal, but the light effects are similar with wonderful shadows cast on the wall behind.
Together with the photographs they give the boat images a greater prominence in the show, but the three tables - of books, about Krakow, and the 'Egyptian table' - are grouped to the right of the barn, making up the domestic scene of the cafe.
What an amazing landscape in which to exhibit! I have so loved my time setting up the installation here in some of the best autumn days and managing a few long walks on the estate and through the gardens; and staying in the house with Magritte and Leonora Carrington on the walls and amazing cases of stuffed birds to pass on my way to bed.
I really enjoyed working with Sharon and meeting other artists working there - I am looking forward to seeing Mexican artist Antonio's day of the Dead installation at Pallant House when I go over to Chichester next week, ( I can't find my piece of paper with his full name , or any details on Pallant House website - all a bit chaotic here as usual).