books

Sheffield Artists Book Prize 2013 #2

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This is the second post about the Fourth Sheffield International Artists Book Prize at Bank Street Arts, in which I have a book on display.  I want to start with ‘Snake Book’ by Natalia Lapidus (above) as it stands out for its sculptural beauty, and the structural relationship between the delicate handmade paper pages and the strength of the binding that supports it. It is as much a beauty to handle and feel as it is to examine. Stunning.

This next book is a simple accordion format, but invites you to pick it out of its wall mounted bag and take a closer look:

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Housed in a similarly stenciled slip cover, the striking linear illustrations immediately begin to open the visual diatribe…

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Which continues unbroken across the landscape format. This is by Chris Graham.

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I spent quite a while with this next one. ‘Acrophony’ by George A. Walker  is housed in a sturdy and elegant archive box, covered in handmade, fibrous papers. The symbols and glyphs immediately appealed to the typographic nerd in me!

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Inside was a slim, piano bound book with beautiful prints and understated typography:

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I was as fascinated by the imagery and prints as I was by the book itself.

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This next book is another sculptural affair. Unfortunately, my notes are unclear and I cannot decipher the artists name, but I could not let that stand in the way of me sharing it with you.

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Those of you who read this blog regularly will recognise a bit of a pattern with my choices. This next book, ‘Testament’ by Tony Kenyon ticks lots of my boxes and announces itself with some rough woodcut lettering on its cover:

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Inside are lots of tipped-in prints including this woodcut/drypoint combination.

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‘Aubergine’ by Dizzy Pragnell is exactly what it says on the label:

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Paper made from very thin slices of aubergine – I have a book on making paper from fruit and vegetables and will have to try this soon. This is much more sturdy than you would expect, and the natural patterns make exceptionally good content.

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The next book is on a different scale: ‘Memories’ by Julie Macbean is elegantly boxed in slate grey, with unique playing cars, dice and a beautiful set of etchings –

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This is simply mesmerizing – the haunting stillness of an empty chair casting a firm shadow, dynamically composed just northeast of the centre of the sheet. This one was my favourite of all the etchings:

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Taking Stock by Radha Pandey is a tall thin accordion book, letterpressed from a polymer plate (see here) that works as a visual inventory of the material objects in her life.

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I loved the format and simplicity of the approach – and whilst it is tall and thin, you don’t see the scale here – the folded sections are only about 6cm wide!

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Another larger scale piece again – this one is called ‘Uluhaimalama – Legacies of Lili’uokalani’ by Allison Leialoha Milham and is a visual exploration of the last queen of Hawaii. It begins with an elegantly illustrated box;
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And contains texts and music – a 12″ vinyl recording, a stencil…

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and nestled into the box beneath these, were two more books and a small black envelope;

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which contained tiny flowers cut from pages of text, which I assume to by words from a song or speech by the queen.

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This last one had me scratching my head for a while…

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‘This Original Self’ by Sandra Turley uses a technique called devore printing – which somehow burns away certain fibres in a mixed fibre material.

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It was beautiful to unfold the accordion, revealing text and a weirdly 3D  image, which was composed of small sections that built up/reduced the face – like contour lines on an OS map. Extremely difficult to photograph in the gallery, but there are some better images here.

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And it was this one that eventually got my vote…

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Whilst I was there, a group of students with their tutor were really engaging with the books. It was very gratifying seeing mine get picked up and read, and overhearing comments too!

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The Fourth Sheffield International Artist’s Book Prize is open until 30 November 2013 at Bank Street Arts

[I have included links to individuals where I have been able to clearly identify them – if I have made any mistakes, not linked to you, not or mis- identified you, please let me know and I will update]

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