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approach

 

I am not making single pictures and this has led to some challenges. Double sided panels need to be viewed from both sides not placed against a wall. Putting a book into a glass box can protect it during an exhibition, but you loose part of the experience of seeing and handling it. You can't turn the pages any more.

I have given myself lots of headaches by avoiding the most straightforward approach, which would be to make discreet pictures that can be framed and put on the wall.

The idea of a series of images was something that I saw quite a lot when I started seriously visiting galleries in the 1970s. It was there in the work of artists as diverse as Victor Burgin and Duane Michals and long before that Hogarth. I could see that this approach lent itself to a book format, but for years I had no idea how to bind my work. It was only when I decided to forget about 'fine' binding and just developed my own way of doing it, that the books became really satisfying to me.

           Question: Is there any relationship between your work and film?                                  

Answer: Some of the great films of the late 1960's, the films of Godard or Oshima's 'Diary of a Shinjuku Theif' or the films of Warhol, have an explosive quality which is a combination of their form and their content. I see them as being about the removal of barriers and the expansion of human potential.
 
           Question: How does that relate to what you do?                                                                          

One aspect of those films, and I am not only thinking of Warhol here, is that often the material was not over edited.  So they contained material you might regard as 'slack' or boring, and sometimes this slack material is the most interesting. When you're thinking of a book or a comic,it can never have that immersive power that a film has but it does have a kind of flow which the veiwer controls by turning pages.

 
Although my approach allows for the inclusion of 'unfinished' material it also gives rise to its own frustrations. Once I departed from a craft based or traditional approach to presenting work (in this case to making bindings) I found myself improvising and inventing in a process of trial and error. Because I just start. I don't always know what I am doing. Sometimes I am not completely happy with what I come up with, but in another sense that unsatisfactory outcome is also interesting because its part of the process that I have chosen.

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.



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