“Sian Bowen: Gaze” – The Book

 Gaze - The Book

“The book is a beautiful production. I’ve just seen Gaze at the V&A: marvellous! I loved the generous relationship across the gallery of work to found object; as always there is a kind of quiet wonder in the work, the manifestation of a subtle and distinctive apprehension, which is something very different from appropriation or detached reflection.”
Mel Gooding

I felt that the recent launch of the residency publication, “Sian Bowen: Gaze,” hosted by the Daiwa Foundation, was very much a celebration of the collaboration and dialogue which has been at the heart of the residency. The book has played a major role in bringing together a range of quite complex threads of both the residency at the V&A and the further residency which I carried out at Kyoto Art Centre last spring.

Working with designer Grita Rose-Innes has been a real pleasure. I really like Susan Hiller’s book “After the Freud Museum” which was designed by Grita and her husband Crispin and on the strength of seeing that publication, made an appointment to visit them. On entering the top floor office of their home in Kentish Town, I felt that we would be able to work together – from the onset Grita was receptive to the idea of working closely with me on the project – something that I felt would be important given the multi-faceted nature of my experiences over the previous 18 months. Subsequently we met many times and gradually the book began to take shape with essays by Richard Cork, Tony Godfrey, Gill Saunders and Pauline Webber – each offering a different perspective on the project. Invaluable conversations with each of them took place. Many other people gave their thought and energy to this book. My drawings were particularly difficult to photograph – the fact that they should be viewed with back lighting, that some works had been made with pinpricks and most have few tonal contrasts, added to the difficulties. Ken Jackson, Chief Photographer at the V&A, was determined to resolve these issues and we worked late into the evening on several occasions. Gill Saunders meticulously edited the text, Grita secured “in kind” support for the very beautiful, slightly translucent paper, the printers in the Netherlands took care at every stage…

Many people came along to book launch and lecture at the Daiwa Foundation – curators, conservators, textile designers, artists. For further details see http://www.dajf.org.uk/event. Organised by Tomoko Kawamura, it seemed to be a fitting venue for the event, with the galleries staging an exhibition on the art of Japanese leather paper by Takashi Ueda, and also given my longstanding relationship with Japan. The book itself, a co-publication by the V&A and Arts Editions North, is being distributed through Cornerhouse Publications and can be ordered from them directly at www.cornerhouse.org/publications (Tel +44 (0) 161 200 1503).

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