Tuesday 30 October 2007

Brought to Book

This was the title of the talk I gave at the Lewes Live Literature festival in Pelham House in Lewes on sunday 29th October.

What is 'Book Art', who does it and why? Carolyn Trant is a Lewes based artist, originally a painter/printmaker, who turned to making Artists Books about 12 years ago. Here she takes us on a personal journey into the world of book art, illustrated with examples of her own and other contemporary bookworks from England Europe and the USA.

She will talk about how and why she got into the artform and where it all currently seems to be leading, with particular reference to her current exhibition - the Falcon Bride - which extends the book form into a room-sized installation.

I went to several of the other talks and features and it was interesting to note some common preoccupations. The opening night cabaret was great with Peter Blegvad, Jean Binta Breeze, John Agard's wicked poetry and Pam Hewitt's raunchy cabaret numbers, and I liked Jane Bom-Bane 'Queen of the Funky Harmonium' with her musical hats and multi-instrumentalist Nick Pynn.
I particularly responded to Peter Blegvad's Surreal lecture the next day, a guided tour of his Milk Museum...
The human mind is often stirred by what might be called the encyclopedic urge, the thirst to know everything. there are two approaches one can take to quench this thirst:
The horizontal - learning a little about a lot of things
The vertical - learning a lot about one thing

For almost thirty years I have taken the latter course, immersing myself in milk, amassing a macaronic museum of quotes and a morgue of pictures pertaining to the stuff in the belief that a sufficiently obsessive study of one thing will eventually result in a complete education about everything........

It seemed a similar idea to my immersion in the world of Bride Falcon and Bee.

Howard Barker and the Wrestling School were fantastic performing a first draft of 'Actress with an Unloved Child'.

Germaine Dulac's The Seashell and the Clergyman 1928 40 mins... 'arguably the first example of Surrealist cinema...' ( I would say it was more Expressionist ) was also fantastic, as were the live band accompanying it - Minima ; it made me want immediately to get back to my ongoing first hesitant attempts at filming what I am doing......

I also loved my friend and fellow artist Peter Messer's illustated talk about his paintings from his last 3 exhibitions - The Luck to be Astonished in the Right Place; Two Dozen Odd Small Paintings; and On the Way to Work.

From Friday November 2nd I will be exhibiting at Oxford Brookes - The Fine Press Book Fair for 3 days, and giving a talk entitled 'Peggy Angus and the Psychopathology of Artists Books' - based on that given at the Cheltnenham Literature Festival last year about my book 'Art For Life', which many printer/publishers missed because they were at Oak Knoll. I'll be trying to pick up on the particular aspects of Artists Books and Fine Press publications that would have appealed to her and why.

Russian Book Artist Dmitry Sayenko will be coming coming back with us to experience Lewes Bonfire Night and see more English countryside, in return for the amazing travelling experiences he gave us in Russia two years ago - and to see what I did with all the photographs of Brides that I took in St Petersburg, now in my show Falcon Bride at West Dean.

Then it will be only two weeks until LAB 07 at the ICA where I will be showing a reduced version of the installation which will be back from West Dean.
check the site....

On Tuesday 4th of December at 6.30pm I will be giving an open talk about my work as part of the Designer Bookbinders series of lectures - see their site for details:
look under Teaching - DB Lecture series
The talk is called Books and Stuff: the Quiddity of Artists Books
at 6 Queens Square WC !n 3AR ( near Holborn or Russel Sq tube )

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