Three new artists' books
4th August – 26th November, 2017
La Trobe Reading Room
State Library Victoria
From the 4th of August, we are turning State Library Victoria's dais in the heart of the Dome Reading Room into an artists' book. Not a book you hold in your palm, but a book that you walk around. One foot, after the other — left, right, left, right — turning the cabinet pages with your feet.
Treating each cabinet as a page, we will be exhibiting five new artists' books, including I think all the world is falling, and No longer six feet under, upon large-scale collages, weaving a fable beneath glass.
But that is a little way off yet. Nestled under #GraciaLouiseLooped, you can watch the final stages of our process, in readiness for early August's install.
Please meet the three newest titles, forming a part of our Looped tale. Disrupted and rumpled, Dim wood, spark bright, and A warmed pebble in my hand. Each an edition of six, with one artists' proof, they have been our days and nights. They continue to be our days and nights. Adding flesh to bones, the beautiful, all-consuming working process.
Disrupted and rumpled
The moon rolled in front of the sun, snuffing the light like Wee Willie Winkie come early, ‘tapping at the window, crying at the lock …. ‘Hey, Willie Winkie, are ye comin' ben? The cat's singin grey thrums to the sleepin hen.’’ And I walked through the silvered scene, of a day turned night.
A solar eclipse, folklore tells, and nature feels unordered, unexpected, even animalistic, as the sky wolves of the Vikings chase the orbs of the sun and moon. But an eclipse is also, in ornithological wings, a term used to describe a duck whose markings are veiled during moulting of the breeding plumage.
Suddenly from one celestial body obscuring the light of another to a small bird’s distinctive markings, eclipsed, I feel myself to be a tiny, tiny speck. The path ahead, an unfinished, unfixed, ever changing puzzle.
Dim wood, spark bright
I entered the cage and felt my way along the floor in something of a clumsy crawl, as my eyes played catch-up with my body. Piercing the struts of the timber structure, the light was blinding. I was reminded of Gerald Manley Hopkins falling upon the word ‘shivelight’ to describe sharp lances perforating a forest canopy. Making like Hopkins, strolling through woodland, exploring a new environment, proved a comfort as forms slowly shook off their haze. I extended my arm forward, and pawed at the wall. I collected a splinter under my skin. I cursed the ‘shivelight’, and found no romance in my surrounds, nor interest in coining a word to describe a particular sensation. I cursed the confines of both the hut I was in and the rut of my predicament. I cursed it all.
And it was then, uttering my annoyance, that I noted several pairs of eyes in the darkness. They glowed. They glowered. They did not blink. I retraced my tracks as best I could. So loudly was my heart beating that I never heard them coming for me until it was too late.
A warmed pebble in my hand
I closed my eyes, to look at the stars. I laid my head, to explore the wilderness. I coiled up upon a rock, to feel what it was to scamper, and glide, and ultimately soar, and I did so knowing that you were my eyes and ears. I blotted out the day, and replanted it anew.
With your hand on my cheek, I looked up at the sky. In the hug of your tail, I felt my skin prickle and burn.
I was stationary, and yet I was leaping. I was warm, and yet I was stone.
You will also be able to see an edition of our artists' book, I think all the world is falling, at Fremantle Arts Centre, W.A., from the 21st of September, 2017. It has been shortlisted for the 2017 Fremantle Arts Centre Fremantle Print Award.
Side by side, an edition of I think all the world is falling and No longer six feet under, the first two artists' books in a series of five, have been shortlisted for the 2017 Geelong acquisitive print awards. The exhibition of selected works will be held at the Geelong Gallery from the 12th of August, 2017.
Image credit: Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, A warmed pebble in my hand (detail), 2017, artists' book