Repair and Repetition
An Exhibition of Artist Books
Bookscapes Collective, and the BooksOnBooks Collection.
ARLIS Conference 2023
The Forum, Norwich
Following Turn the Page Artist Book Fair in 2022, Jerry Jenkins, Curator, Emerging Media, Contemporary British Publications at the British Library, approached Jules Allen to inquire about the possibility of an Artist Book Fair being held alongside their annual Arts Libraries Conference. However the timing of this request was one year too late. Although Turn the Page proved to be a huge success, after two years of COVID restrictions and ten years of organising the event, the committee felt it was time to move on to new ventures. That new venture is Bookscapes Collective.
The six of us have exhibited alongside each other during those ten years, and came together through our joint interest in working with Museum Collections and Historic places. We enjoy researching and making site specific work which open conversations between the past and present.
However following the discussion it was agreed we would bring together an exhibition comprising pieces of our own work, alongside a selection from the BooksOnBooks collection. This is a private collection which has been catalogued and documented on line and offers posts and reviews about book arts, the history and future of the book, acts of reading, looking and their relationship. (more here).
The pieces displayed were selected for their connection to the theme of ‘Repair and Repetition’. This title refers not just to the physical act of making, restoring and conserving books but also to the process of making art as an act of healing, recovery and meditation. The books demonstrate how art can be mindful and provide a way to process and cope with traumatic events, such as the recent COVID Pandemic.
Artist books featured from the Books On Books Collection included
Anouk Kruithof Universal Tongue
Anouk Kruithof Pixel stress
J. Meejin Yoon - Absence (2004)
Pien Rotterdam - Absences (2015)
Salt & Shaw - ‘Look’ (2021)
Salt + Shaw ITHACA (2015)
Salt + Shaw WHORL
Nif Hodgson Fluid Horizons (2021)
Ken Botnick, Table of Contents (2020)
Simon Morris, Royal Road to the Unconscious (2004)
Maria Welch - ‘Erratic Obsession’ (2019)
Caroline Penn’s Standen (2014)
Helen Malone & Jack Oudyn, The Future of an Illusion (2017)
Marian Macken - Ise Jingū: Beginning Repeated
Xiao Long Hua’s The Blind Men and the Elephant (2019)
Guy Laramée, A Caverna (2012)
Joyce Cutler-Shaw, The Anatomy Lesson: Unveiling the Fasciculus Medicinae (2004)
Lucia Mindlin Loeb, Abismo (2012)
Francesca Capone “Weaving Language: Language is Image, Paper, Code & Cloth’ (2018)
Masoumeh Mohtadi’s Blindness (2020).
Phil Zimmerman, High Tension (1993)
Guy Laramee A Caverna (2012) Pien Rotterdam, Absences (2015), Masoumeh Mohtadis Blindness (2020)
We are extremely grateful to the curator of the collection Robert Bolick who has always been hugely supportive of both Turn the Page and has promoted and brought exposure to many other artists, craftspeople, and institutions.
Works on show by Bookscapes Artists included
Chris Ruston Field Notes: The Seashore I Know
These Artist Books demonstrate the variety of ways emotions can be expressed through art and the medium of book in its widest sense. The exhibition was received well and generated interesting conversations about the importance of art, education and expression for well being.
These pieces not only provide a place for the individual artists to express themselves and process emotional content, but facilitated an openness and sharing of experience from the people who viewed them. Art is a communication, an invitation to share experience and to connect with others who may either been through a similar situation or offer a new perspectives and understanding.
A Book Art Performance
I am also part of Bookscapes Collective.
Bookscapes is a group of six artists that have developed a group practice specialising in site specific interventions and exhibitions.