Friday, June 06, 2008

Certain Trees

This is the second exhibition of artists books that is currently on at the V&A Museum. It focuses on a group of British book artists and includes multiple works by each published by their small presses. These included Tarasque Press, Coracle Press and Wild Hawthorn Press. It’s interesting to see works by artists who specialize in a medium, and compare their works with those in Blood on Paper. These works seemed very “English” to me. By this, I mean that they were thoughtful, understated and exhibited a very particular sense of humour.

The artists shown here have all made a number of artists books, and as such, the works were part of each artist’s body of work exploring the book form. There was a lot to be learnt from examining these books and having the time to absorb what they were saying, but unfortunately they were all displayed in cabinets. This meant that you could often only see a single spread, and while what you could read was often amusing, or quite lovely, I felt I was missing a lot. Standing in front of a glass cabinet really doesn't encourage you to spend time with a work. I'm always disappointed when I don't get to handle artists books, but especially so in this case, where the content was quite crucial. Nevertheless, there was still enough to see to make the visit worthwhile. There’s some more information on the V&A website.


  1. Anonymous5:33 PM

    It IS disappointing not to be able to see inside books. I have one in an exhibition in the AGNSW at the moment and it is iin a cabinet. Though I made a structure that could be displayed standing up open, they have chosen to display only the cover. The cover took me a couple of days, but the contents was where all the work was. Maybe 3 months' work. It makes me feel that the content will NEVER be seen.

  2. That's so true! I hadn't thought how the artist must feel about having their book displayed in such a way that only a tiny aspect can be seen. All that work! Maybe we need to provide some instructions for display when we submit our books, just as you might for a lot of other art works.