Friday, June 06, 2008

Tate Modern and the Bookartbookshop

I headed off to the Tate Modern with high hopes. With several exhibitions to choose from, I opted for Duchamp, Man Ray and Picabia. Unfortunately, the day I went to the Tate was the day after my second migraine, and it was just a bit too conceptual for me. Then I moved on to another exhibition about minimalism, and I discovered just how perceptually-based minimalism is. It seems simple. Large areas of colour and form, and I thought I could just sit and soak it in, but the effect it had on my brain was very disturbing. The colours seemed to leap off the walls and my head began to spin. It wasn't long before I had to leave.

Luckily I was a lot better the day I headed out to Hoxton. I had heard about the Bookartbookshop in a Book Arts Newsletter and I was hoping to add to my little collection. For a very small space, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of examples of artists books in this shop. I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours poring through various books, many only priced at 10-15 GBP. It made me realize that there is a very particular type of artists book that really excites me, enough to want to open up my little purse and let the moths out, any way. The ones I love have a feeling of the handmade. This may be quite raw and primitive or of course it might be exquisitely handcrafted. They don’t need to be totally handmade, photocopies are fine, I just don’t really go for anything too mechanically produced. In the end I chose just one to buy, titled Round the Block by Kate Farley. Here's a few photos of some of the spreads. To me, this book had an aesthetic that is just about perfect - hand drawn lines, gentle shapes, references to the city and the country, human contact, suggestions and hints - gorgeous!


  1. So glad that you enjoyed your time in London and all the galleries and cultural stuff. I do so wish that I could get there still --seems ironic that you've got there from Oz and I can't get there when it's 50 mins on the train ;0)

    There's a new exhibition on Orientalist painting at Tate Britain that I'd love to see but I shall what I can online.

    Are you back home now ?

  2. Hi Cusp,
    Yes it seems pretty amazing to me too, that I could get to London. I was disappointed that I did not see more - I was in bed for 2 of my 9 days there, and spent another day getting my ankle and knee injuries from Mumbles checked out. The trip has made me realize how much I benefit from spending time out of cities, and also that the traveling around is just too much. Better to choose one place and go for a month. Then you can make short trips, maybe stay away for a few nights and then spend a few more days recovering. That's what we've been doing the past 3 weeks since we arrived in Belfast. On Monday we fly to Paris for 6 days, then home. I am going to try to be VERY restrained in Paris, as I am pretty worn out and the trip home will be worse for jetlag than the one over. It just seems such a shame to be in places like Paris and London and not see as much as you can.
    I really hope your energy picks up a bit, so you can at least make an occasional trip to London, just to see an exhibition or something. Take care!

  3. Hi there Amanda and thanks for your recent post - it was nice to know that you were thinking of me. I wonder if you are still in the UK at the moment? Your trip to the bookartbookshop sounded just fantastic . Were you in there the entire day or what? Brings back memories of myself carrying on, in such a fashion.
    E.g., sat on the floor with loads of book on either side, whilst trying to keep an eye on my handbag. Then finding I need to go to the loo, or I'm starving hungry. And I've just selected all those lovely books to look at........

    I don't think that I actually ever, made it along there to check it out.

    Yes... I also like for the book to have a 'handmade' feel to it, I am not so taken with 'perfectly bound'
    mechanically produced books....I' amazed that given the amount of material you had on view there, that you managed to come out of the place with just the ONE book!!

    Sorry to hear that your migraine has started playing you up......frankly I was amazed that you even went on this trip. I mean what a lot of extra physical effort it all is - but then balancing that with the sheer pleasure and joy in seeing some of the things you have visited, would hopefully counteract the extra demands traveling and "touristing" has been making on your system.

    Just take care now for the rest of the time. Paris is so beautiful hope you enjoy it.
    Oh by the way I came across something called Dictionary of Australian Artists Online which I thought you might like to use for research and also to make an entry for A. Watson Will ( have I spelled that correctly ??!!) If you put that title in Google it'll come up.

    best wishes


  4. That IS a lovely book Amanda and I can see why you chose it. Must have been hard to settle for just one but when you're travelling it becomes so hard to add to the luggage. I sent a few parcels home from NZ that I hope will make it through NZ&Aust Post. Sorry to hear about your migraines, I can really relate to that. Curse of my life too.