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who am I


who am I ? 

I have been making artists’s books since the 1980s. These are hand made books which use the book form as a way of making a piece of art. They enable me to work with photography, drawing and collage and to extend my design to include the form and structure of the book itself. This has allowed me to explore my interests in text and images, to link content and, on a small scale, to present my work in its own context. At the centre of my practice are questions about how we organise our representations of the world, how we structure our thoughts and how we group our associations and identifications around images? 

I have used photography in my book alongside drawing and on its own, for example in my book tricorn This book is not just a series of photographs, to be viewed individually, here the single image is in dialogue with the books structure and with the other images. The photographs exist within a real “synthetic” space, which is formed by the book itself.

".....as a result the function of art seems ultimately to consist in the production of world contingency [Weltkontingenz] itself. The accepted everyday version of reality theirby reveals itself as something that is constantly changing....Rejection, deception and ridicule are not ends in themselves. They are merely a transitional phase on the path towards an operation that can be described as that of unmasking reality, towards the final conclusion: since the work of art actually exists and can be convincingly experienced as such (if it can!), then something must be wrong with the world....With the world that is ! - and precisely not with art which is after all, quite evidently the master of its own possibilities. "

Niklas Luhrman The Work of Art and the Self Reproduction of Art. 

WARNING: slippery surface
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Question: In the quote you've chosen, Luhrman assigns artists a project- unmasking reality and exposing its contingent nature..... The writing of manifestos and the public adoption of political positions, associated with modernism in the twentieth century can seem naive in the twenty first. Bearing that in mind I wonder if you have some sense of a mission and if so, what would be your mission statement? 

Answer: I do feel a sense of mission, although I don't know how to formulate that in a way that is separate from the work itself. I am deeply attracted by the rhetoric of liberation which was current in left wing circles in the 1960s and 70s. 

Question: I believe over the last few years you have been principly concerned with a project which involves redrawing and reworking the same material in the form of a series of books. How did you come to remake the same book again and again
Answer: I had previously worked with film and performance as well as sequences of drawings which I commenced at the turn of the 1980s. What first set me off on this road was my encounters with conceptual art as a student in the 1970s. I saw artists working with pictures in sequences. In the drawings I was interested not in the mimetic qualities of the drawing as an end in themselves but rather in how these drawings could be used to pull the viewer through a series of associations into some kind of revision of their mental maps......I am not completely clear what I mean by that, because i dont think that art/work can ever successfully articulate any kind of higher agenda which is separate from itself.........anyhow, the books were a way that I could work with different kinds of material (photographic, drawn, written) and bridge various kinds of ontologically different things, I am not sure that's the right word. I mean things having a different kind of reality. The material objects (the book and what it is physically made of) and drawings, photographs, words and shapes which work through mimesis and symbolism. Creating a play of meaning within a larger sculptural object. I wanted to retain a feeling of informality and casualness which would suggest the processes through which the book was created. What, at the beginning were a series of drawings, evolved into books. I was making order and structure, but it was important that people would see the joins, so I was using a DIY aesthetic to build a distinctive form for these books.

After a number of experiments with binding, I began to work with paper clips creating bindings that were physically strong and which reflected my own doubts about the idea of definitive form. I took great care that my constructions would work in the same way as any other book. It was important to me that the pages turned easily and that the book would close to form a flat block........So I was happy with this way of binding and I wanted to use it to make a sort of high end comic. I liked the graphic and architypal aspects of comics but i wasnt very interested in most of the storylines. So i started experimenting with creating a storyline by just collaging images and then editing them. It was like the thing was in this in a state of flux where it never completely arrived at a definitive version.... I just called it the Price of Admission because a reoccuring preoccupation was the idea of admission into a social group. Nowadays there is facebook, in the 80s there were clubs with door policies. So i was thinking about editing in social terms as well as in terms of including or omitting material. The Price of Admission

Bol describes a panel.