This database of artists' books provides images
of a selection of works from the collection in the
National Art Library. The visual database can be
used as a learning resource by teachers, tutors
and students and can also be enjoyed by those
interested in discovering artists' books.
Height 25 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X940020
This unique artist's book comprises a primer or alphabet book in two volumes. Watercolour drawings on hand made paper illustrate the letters of the Hindi and English alphabets respectively. Book 1: Hindi is bound in gold cloth and includes translations into English of the Hindi words depicted. The illustrations of animals and objects (examples: tamarind; lotus; Ganesh; sitar) are illustrated using the vibrant colours of the Indian subcontinent. Book 2: English is bound in red cloth and depicts words familiar from English alphabet books (examples: apple; ball; cat; duck) in more muted tones. In the catalogue entitled 'The Artists' Book Fair 1995' the artist states, 'Cultural identity motivates my work: the identity of a country, people, places, words, objects and moments in a continuing history'.
Height 18 cm x width 17 cm
NAL pressmark: 801.AA.0005
This book is one part of a series of twenty 'Volumes (of vulnerability)' curated by Susan Johanknecht & Katherine Meynell, published to coincide with the millennium. Participating artists contributed work interpreting the concept of vulnerability. In 'Title' by Sophie Artemis the physical instability or vulnerability of the book is made explicit by the intentional 'coffee stains' on the cover and central opening of the work, while the text is both a close examination of the individual components that make up a book as well as a conscious journey through the act of reading.
'Running a secret society no. 20'
Height 18cm x width 12 cm
NAL pressmark: 801.AG.0059
This artist's book purports to be an instruction manual on how to run a secret society and grew out of the artist's fascination with the bizarre rituals that members of secret societies are known to indulge in. The book contains numerous sections of 'useful' advice, updated between editions, on how to remain incognito. The present edition of 20 copies includes a section on revised handshakes and signals with illustrations (including 'handshakes for experienced users only'). The introduction includes the ultimate nonsensical advice on 'How to remain secret' which is not to let anyone join your society - one member is the maximum recommended. The brown manila stapled binding containing 8 pages is accompanied by a 'Courtesy hand-markings recognition chart', an envelope containing a secret password and computer enhanced technology (i.e. a match) designed to aid the destruction of the work once memorised. The foreword is signed by 'Commander-in-chief': J. Batey.
Height 29 cm x width 23 cm
NAL pressmark: X950073
'Talespin' is a case bound book with red cloth wrapping its cover boards. The book's themes are growing up and the death of innocence, mixed in with a helping of feminism and post-modern irony, evoked via a series of collaged images which have been collated to create a fragmented narrative. These black and white pictures were printed offset and then painstakingly hand-coloured by Susan Bee in watercolour and gouache to form a richly visual book. Bee built her collages using found images from a variety of sources, including nineteenth century ladies' magazines, nineteenth and early twentieth century children's books and computer clip-art. Images, such as a pistol pointed at a rocking horse, are juxtaposed to develop a feeling of oddness and discomfort throughout the book. This sense of unease is mirrored by the text which appears on some pages, formed from collaged excerpts taken from books of children's verse, instructions in drawing manuals, captions from children's activity books and poems by Christina Rossetti and Robert Louis Stevenson. The blending of the lyrical innocence of the verse and the didactic tone of the drawing manual adds to the sinister undertone of the whole piece.
'La Historia de Arias'
Height 46 cm x width 18 cm x depth 25 cm
NAL pressmark: 805.AA.0003
This work consists of a sealed copy of E.H. Gombrich's modern classic work 'The story of art' (London: Phaidon Press, 1995) which has been drilled through at each corner and pierced by large bolts to create a small table. This 'table' acts as a display stand for Colombian artist Fernando Arias' own publication 'La historia de Arias', the cover art of which mimics that of 'The story of art' but contains images of Arias' work, his biography and the text 'Blah blah'. This smaller publication is wittily intended as an appendix to Gombrich's famous survey of art, acting as a challenge to its eurocentricity. 'The story of art' has been bolted shut and is thus rendered unreadable, laying the text to rest. Its main role is now as a supportive plinth, cheekily used by Arias to elevate his own work.
'Liver & lights No. 1'
Height 22 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X900253
This artist's book is the first in the 'Liver & Lights' series begun by artist John Bently in 1984 and which he has continued to publish over the last 25 years. The first issue was published on the occasion of an exhibition of paintings by a group of artists including Bently. Printed on double leaves and bound in a Chinese-style binding, the content is a miscellany of text and images representing what the contributing artists 'feel in our liver & lights'. The series was initially intended to act as a periodic manifesto of words and images of a loose collective of artists (seven are represented in issue no. 1). However, the group soon dispersed, and subsequent issues in the series became Bently's own personal, highly idiosyncratic project, acting as vehicles for his play with words, images, poetry, fantasy, stories, found objects and created objects, all contained in a wide variety of ever more strange book object formats. By contrast with some of the later issues, No. 1 is relatively conventional as a bookwork.
Height 24 cm x width 11 cm
NAL pressmark: X920030
John Paul Bichard is an artist who has worked in a variety of media including photography, games, digital media and installation as well as artists' books and multiples. This bookwork was produced at the beginning of his artistic career at a time when he was undergoing treatment for cancer. Bichard uses this experience as a source of inspiration for his work. 'X-ray song' is a book containing a fold-out poem in three parts and a silk-screened photo collage recounting an experience with radiotherapy. The book is presented in a deluxe box inlaid with an X-ray print of the artist's thorax and abdomen and a portion of a stitch from the surgery he underwent. The use of highly personal material brings the viewer very close to his own harrowing experience of living with and overcoming this illness. NAL copy is no. 4 in an edition of 120 copies, the first 20 of which are specially bound, signed by the artist and presented in a deluxe box.
Height 18 cm x width 13 cm
NAL pressmark: X940021
This first collaboration between the book artist Les Bicknell, well known and established by the early 1990s, and the printmaker Matthew Tyson, was produced in a limited edition of 20 by Tyson's firm Imprints, following Tyson's relocation to France from the UK. The work is a irregularly folded sequence of handmade paper strips, each 17cm wide, attached together on the reverse side by fragments of newsprint bearing television listings. The strips together form a continuous leaf over 1.5 metres long. A line of water colour in tones of brown and pink, the shade varied for each of the three sections. The whole is pasted at one edge to a blue card cover, stapled to which is a scarlet diagonal paper cross. Both artists had graphic design backgrounds, and both consciously strove for abstraction and innovation, refusing to follow earlier, finer traditions of livres d'artistes or artists books. Bicknell in particular preferred to question the very nature of 'the book', using unorthodox approaches to typography or lack of it, folding, binding and illustration. 'Balcons' continues this exploration for Bicknell, altering and expanding his scope by collaborating with Tyson, for this work.
Height 13 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X900246
This small, visually unassuming and intriguing book is the result of several months spent in India. Blamey was drawn there by the hand-made quality and variation produced by printing techniques, which he wanted to celebrate but not mimic. The hammered aluminium slipcase with a screen-printed label is immediately suggestive of Indian hand-craft and use of recycled materials. The deep yellow of the page edges and title lettering refer to the colour of the spice turmeric. The text, in English with Hindi transliteration, conveys the reader on a tour marked out by phrases from local street advertising. Juxtaposed, the single phrases propose their own darkly humorous meanings. Framed on each page is a facsimile of a leaf from Blamey's notebooks, the unevenness of their perforations making them unfamiliar to a Western eye. The simple drawings have a quality of the commonplace found object, just beyond recognition. The areas of textured shading might be rubbings taken from unexceptional surfaces along the way. 'Past Golden' is a material product, a literal record and an intimately personal impression of a particular place. Yet the fragmentary, abstracted nature of its content allows the viewer to make their own journeys.
''Happiness pursuit: a step-by-step work-out handbook in 19 platitudes'
Height 25 cm x width 19 cm
NAL pressmark: X940028
Bocanet's wonderfully sensuous and intriguing book will delight a whole range of audiences for many different reasons. It is luxuriously bound in black moire silk, which, though beautiful, reveals nothing of its contents. The pages of the book are made from thick grey board, reminiscent of the solidly-paged board books from childhood. Each page contains a scrap or scraps of metal laid-in, along with collaged illustrations cut out from newspapers or magazines and a platitude embossed in blind. The platitudes are banal sayings and rhyming phrases, such as 'express your mess' or 'cheers to the fears', which essentially mean nothing but sound like chapter titles of a self-help book. The title 'Happiness pursuit' reiterates this feeling of a pseudo-philosophical or psychological tract. The pieces of metal used in this book, dubbed 'metallic platitudes', are scraps of found materials of various shapes, sizes and textures from the A.R.T. (Amsterdam Rubbish Trust). The juxtaposition of the metal scraps, photographic images and embossed text within the finely crafted, die cut pages,creates an effect that is both aesthetically and conceptually satisfying.
Height 16 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X970051
This artist's book is a tour of the garden of Livia (wife of Augustus Caesar) and comprises images of classical sculptures of Caesars juxtaposed with images of plants reminiscent of prints from medieval herbals. The plants depicted could be called medicinal but could equally be used for more sinister purposes. In an accompanying information sheet Bodman states that Livia used her knowledge of 'medicinal' plants to remove any obstacles which threatened the stability of the Imperial family in Rome. The images have been produced using water-based screen printing inks printed onto Somerset Satin 300gsm paper and hand-tinted with watercolour. NAL copy is no. 11 in a limited edition of 30 copies.
'10 diary pages 1969-82'
Height 34 cm x width 17 cm
NAL pressmark: 81 Drawer 17
Artist and writer Ian Breakwell (1943-2005) expressed himself in a range of media from painting and printmaking to film, collage, video, audio-tape, digital imaging and performance. He also kept detailed, illustrated diaries from the mid 1960s until his death in which he recorded everyday, often mundane events as he observed them. The diary entries included verbal descriptions of things seen, both handwritten and typed, and visual pages comprising drawings, photographs and photo-collage. Breakwell had already started to publish some of the diaries in modest small press editions when in 1983, while working on a fellowship at the Norwich School of Art, he got friendly with the printing department there and saw an opportunity to publish an edition that would do justice to the diary pages visually. The process used was photo-silkscreen with a limited range of colours. Breakwell chose diary pages which would fit that colour range, in order to produce prints that would approximate the richness of the original pages. The 10 diary pages, part verbal, part visual, have a typically voyeuristic quality and provide an intriguing slice of the mundane mixed in with elements of fantasy. NAL copy is no. 3 in an edition of 50 numbered copies, signed by the artist.
'Letters and jazz: for Richard Hamilton, Lester Young, Charlie 'Yardbird' Parker'
Height 15 cm x width 21 cm
NAL pressmark: X890294
This spontaneous book work is the result of drawings made collaboratively by George Brecht and Stefan Wewerka. The two artists appear to have had an enjoyable evening: drinking wine, talking about letters and Chinese, listening to jazz artists Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and others whilst experimenting with creating letter formations inspired by the music and Richard Hamilton's artrubberprint 'Five tires'. As the artists say in the introduction to the book, '"Five tires" was cut up, stamped, glued.' The results of their evening's work despite being unplanned do bring together several themes in a most dynamic way as well as recording the process of developing an idea.
'Above the trees: a short novel'
Height 22 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X891011, X891012
New York-based artist John Eric Broaddus (1943-1990) worked in many areas of the arts and was known for his theatre sets and for his own highly original costumes which he wore as a performance artist. He was also a painter but is perhaps best known for his artists' books. 'Above the trees' is a one-of-a-kind book in two volumes produced in 1985. Broaddus used a technique similar to the one used by the artist Tom Philips in his work 'The Humument', that of taking an existing printed book and altering it page by page so that just a few words and lines of text are left exposed, thus creating a new work. Broaddus used two identical books that he described as 'horrid vanity press novels about Armageddon' and spray-painted the pages and added stuck-on images, drawings and intricately cut-out shapes using a distinctly 'new-age' aesthetic. The elaborate, vividly-coloured and highly sculptural pages demonstrate Broaddus's interest in both detail and drama. The finished work is as intricate and highly decorated as his costumes and stage sets. In fact Broaddus likened the pages of a book to pieces of a stage set that slowly get peeled back. Each of the two books has a decorated slip-case wrapped in a painted cloth.
'Tilt: the black flagged streets'
Height 30 cm x width 23 cm
NAL pressmark: X890196
Ken Campbell has recorded an eclectic mix of influences for this book: a poem written in Canada in 1981; a statue of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, seen in the Museum Rietberg in Zurich; the steps leading up to Whitby Abbey; and the black flag of anarchy. Campbell uses a characteristically varied and innovative range of printing techniques: found lino blocks create dense black blocks of ink suggesting black flags or flagstones; the text of the poem is revealed, line by line, from behind the black 'flags'; the figure of Shiva is printed from individual pieces of zinc which can be rearranged, like a puppet, enabling the image to be manipulated, taken apart and rebuilt. The pages are a conventional rectangular shape, the boards in which the book is bound are in the shape of a trapezium, adding to the sense of disturbance.
'Ten years of Uzbekistan'
Height 51 cm x width 36 cm
NAL pressmark: X940043
This collaboration between the artist Ken Campbell and photographer David King takes as its starting point a book published by the Soviet State Publishing House in 1934 to celebrate a decade of Soviet rule in Uzbekistan. The original book was designed by the Russian artist and designer Alexander Rodchenko. A few years after publication, during Stalin's purges, several of the party officials whose portraits appeared in the volume fell out of favour and were removed from office. Rodchenko defaced his own copy of the book, obliterating the portraits with thick black ink. Ken Campbell has said how he found this 'an absolutely terrifying image; not a comment on the Soviet system, more a comment on the nature of censorship and self-censorship'. In this artist's book, enlarged photographic reproductions of the defaced portraits are printed opposite brief political biographies of the individuals, including their fates (where known). The portraits are printed in a frame, reminiscent of an icon. Some of the frames show where Campbell has fired staple guns into the zinc printing plates, so that the printing technique itself reflects the violence of the subject matter.
Height 33 cm x width 18 cm
NAL pressmark: X890131
The title of this book has resonances of a lush and fruitful allotment, as well as more Biblical connotations of the Garden of Eden. The external and internal appearance of the book show little of this verdant paradise. The imagery is dense, dark and layered, with borders and furrows with almost circuit-board style rigidity. The text inside is deeply inset; a page within a page. The lines of the poem are obscured by blocks of ink, with the odd word or phrase left to read. At some points the text underneath the ink is just about legible, lending a sense of toil about the reading, the unearthing of the poem's meaning. This book leaves the viewer with a sense of unease after experiencing its claustrophobic presence.
'Terror terror: a book of poems are invitations to jump in the lake'
Height 23 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X890036
This very early Ken Campbell book is produced much like a commercial paperback, offset printed on regular paper, in black and white then perfect bound. The only element that hints of the more highly crafted books that Campbell later produced, is that each page is folded along the fore-edge in a kind of Chinese binding. The imagery in the book is entirely photographic and consists of poems created by pinning individually printed words onto a wall. There is no explanation in the book to clarify whether the choosing of the words is random, or done by one individual, or a group of 'poets', or indeed where the selection of words comes from. It is left to the reader to decipher what these wall poems mean, and whether they are indeed 'invitations to jump'.
'The missing piece'
Height 30 cm x width 23 cm
NAL pressmark: X891067
This spiral bound artist's book comprises a sequence of six laminated semi-translucent leaves each bearing the same image of two diagonal lines drawn across the page. The pages are divided into six sections and each page has a different 'missing piece'. Paging through the book takes on the aspect of a game or puzzle as the missing element moves around the page. The viewer also becomes acutely aware of the book's structure and sequence as the missing piece from each page is effectively 'replaced' by the same element of the identical image on the page below.
Height 40 cm x width 20 cm
NAL pressmark: X940216
This bookwork by poet, sculptor and performance artist Brian Catling was made to accompany an exhibition entitled 'The Blindings', held at the Serpentine Gallery in 1994. 'The Blindings' is the generic title for a group of works made between spring 1993 and winter 1994 comprising short and durational performances and sculptural installations held in various venues worldwide. The dramatic title is a reference to some lines from the 'Diamond Sutra' that strongly influenced the artist, in which the narrator's mental vision is awakened by blinding flashes of lightning, and by natural light striking waterdrops, bubbles or clouds. The gallery itself became the subject of the exhibition at the Serpentine, the artist finding inspiration in its physical space and atmosphere. A text written by Catling was spoken by him for nine consecutive days, eight hours a day. At moments the artist would move among a series of sculptural installations made predominantly of glass and perspex in each room of the gallery, engaging with them as part of his long dialogue, as well as venturing outside the building and into the park beyond. 'Moon book' is emblematic of the sculptural objects in the exhibition which were created in response to the physical space of glass, concrete and other materials. An opaque perspex half moon emitting shards of glass and a transparent cylinder are mounted onto a platform of perspex. This in turn is mounted onto a sheet of safety glass crosshatched with strengthening wire, a single sheet of unmarked white paper entrapped between the layers to magnificent luminary effect. NAL copy is no. 15 in an edition of 20 numbered copies signed by the artist.
Height 13 cm x width 17 cm
NAL pressmark: X940110
Karen Chance's 'Parallax' folds out like an accordion to literally present 'two sides to a story'. It depicts the thoughts and reveries of two men who encounter each other on the subway, one straight, one gay, and their opposing views on male homosexuality. Each side of the book is dedicated to the opinions and fears of one of the two men, but the last frame serves as the same ending to both stories: the realization that they will have to sit next to each other on their journey.
'The office orchestra'
Height 22 cm x width 21 cm x depth 21 cm
NAL pressmark 805.AA.0006
This artist's book invites the reader to create their own 'Office Orchestra' by providing the necessary instruments for twelve people to play along to a musical score entitled 'Stationary [sic] symphony no. 1'. Contained within a cardboard tube which itself can be played as a drum, the office orchestra instruments are mounted on a die-cut cardboard concertina folded carousel. Each instrument is fashioned from an everyday item of office stationery and comes complete with instructions on how to assemble it. Once each item has been transformed it is also renamed; bulldog clips played as castanets are renamed 'castaclips', elastic bands stretched across a plastic box become an 'elastilute', plastic bottles of correction fluid are 'correctoraccas', the casing of a pen becomes a 'pen-pipe', and to ensure the orchestra stays in time, two office pencils are provided as conductor's batons.
Height 23 cm x width 21 cm
NAL pressmark: X940056
This artist's book by Chloe Cheese is in the form of a diary recording recipes, characters and memories from The Eagle Public House. Images by the artist are combined with recipes and texts by the Eagle chef David Eyre, Michael Belben and Emma Hill. The stylised lettering of the title (like a pub sign) and miniature lemon on the book's cover already hint at its contents. Inside the 6 colour and 12 black and white lithographs by Cheese of pub interiors, everyday scenes and vividly depicted recipe ingredients accompany the mouth-watering recipes and the texts which reminisce variously about first encounters, wedding receptions and the nicknames given to the regular customers. The work functions as recipe book, diary and scrapbook, its text, reproduced from handwriting, in keeping with the intimacy of its subject matter. NAL copy is no. 52 in a limited edition of 100 copies signed by the artist.
''The first seven days: Genesis 1-2:3'
Height 21 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X890011
This is the first bookwork by Julie Chen, produced in a double accordion format and bound using a non-adhesive structure. Chen chose to use a religious text for the work because of her parents' involvement in the church throughout her childhood. In discussing the structure of the work, Chen stated that she, 'wanted there to be a sense of visual continuation, so that the images flowed from one page to the next' (from 'Speaking of book art: interviews with British and American book artists' by Cathy Courtney (Los Altos Hill, Ca.: Anderson-Lovelace, 1999). This is cleverly achieved using two accordion-folded sections; the narrative reads from the front to the back of the left-hand opening, and then from the back to the front of the right-hand opening. The narrative flow is mirrored by the images which spill over from the edge of one page opening onto the next in a finely crafted, structually adept bookwork. NAL copy is no. 6 in an edition of 45 copies, signed by the artist.
Height 28 cm width 34 cm when closed; 82 cm deep when fully extended
NAL pressmark: X930119
'Octopus' is a large format tunnel book comprising a poem by Elizabeth McDermitt, illustrated by Julie Chen and enclosed within a dark green silk covered clam shell box. Chen's books invariably come within some kind of box or case, 'the fact that the reader is presented with a package that can be opened in order to get to the book is a very deliberate choice on my part.' (from 'Speaking of book art: interviews with British and American book artists' by Cathy Courtney (Los Altos Hill, Ca.: Anderson-Lovelace, 1999)). Chen wants the revealing of the book to be part of the overall interactive experience. The opening of this particular box reveals a tunnel book with layered pages in shades of green and blue, cut out at the centre and attached to two folded accordion-style leaves. The lines of the poem run along the wave-shaped edges of each subsequent cut out page, which descend to a watery conclusion. When the book is fully extended the depths of the sea are evocatively rendered, as the ocean hues of ink become darker and are ultimately entwined with the tentacles of the octopus of the title, lurking in the very depths of the book. NAL copy is no. 29 in an edition of 100 copies.
''You are here'
Height 11 cm x width 11 cm
NAL pressmark: X930232
This exquisite little book is encased within a blue silk covered carrying box, complete with a carrying cord so that it can be worn as a constant companion around the neck. A tiny compass is inlaid into a perspex window, behind which a recessed front compartment contains a series of miniature found objects including a hand holding a swinging pendulum and a pair of die. The themes of life as a journey and the chances we take are implied even before the box is opened. The book it contains opens to reveal a kind of pocket prayer book for the soul. The pages unfold in a complex, map-like structure and contain map imagery and a sequentially numbered text that helps us to navigate around the 'twists and turns of the human heart'. NAL copy is no. 34 in an edition of 100 copies, signed by the artist.
'The Mirror book'
Height 33 cm x width 27 cm
NAL pressmark: X920105
This text-less bookwork is composed entirely of mirror-foil pages enclosed within mirror-glass covers which have been riveted together with chrome dome-headed screws. On turning the pages, each new reader is confronted with their own reflection, and forced into a world of self-contemplation and, potentially, self-knowledge. This was the first book object produced by Ron King and is one of only a small number of works with no text that he produced for his Circle Press. The original prototype for 'The Mirror Book' was made for an exhibition held at the V&A in 1979 called, 'The Open and Closed Book'. The bookwork was placed on a lectern at the entrance to the exhibition and contained a couple of lines of text which implied that what you read mirrored what you were. For this later, editioned version the words were removed, the binding simplified and a black solander box padded with a blue velvet lining made for safe keeping. Limited edition of 35 copies (of which only 20 have been made).
'On the slates'
Shoe 31 cm in box 34 x 18 x 11 cm
NAL pressmark: X930044
Flockophobic Press state in their 1992/93 prospectus that they 'celebrate non-narrative writing in stunning objects that happen to be books'. This notion is nowhere more evident than in the bookwork 'On the slates' designed by A.S.C. Rower. When first encountering this closed white shoebox, the reader would be forgiven for not recognising it as a book. Upon opening the box, this feeling may still linger as the contents of this shoebox is indeed a shoe. On closer inspection it is revealed to contain a scroll-like bundle of paper, or cash roll - leaves of paper rolled inside a facsimile dollar bill, tied with a shoelace. The 31 'bills' contain the text of the poem, 'On the slates', by Clark Coolidge printed in black text on the front, and green text on the back of each bill. As the roll of 'bills' or 'pages' is so tight, once unfurled, the process of reading the poem is impeded both by the pages curling back up, and the text being fragmented over so many separate leaves. This makes the reading of the poem a physical as well as an emotional experience, adding to its meaning. NAL copy is no. 42 in an edition of 250, signed by the author and designer
'15 Shakespeare Kaku'
Height 13 cm x width 10 cm
NAL pressmark: 804.AC.0023
Bob Cobbing (1920-2002) was a British concrete, visual and sound poet and a central figure in the British Poetry Revival movement. His press, Writers Forum, published over 1000 pamphlets and books between 1963 and 2002, many of them Cobbing's own work, on virtually no budget. These included '15 Shakespeare Kaku' which first appeared in 'Poems for Shakespeare' published by the Globe Playhouse Trust in 1972. The work marked a departure for Cobbing in that the words that make up each of the 15 poems it contains have been visually distorted; individual letterforms have been sliced through, partially erased and overlaid making them illegible but still recognisable as words. The resulting poems are also abstract, visual compositions. This dual effect of the verbal and the visual is referenced by the use of 'Kaku' in the title from the Japanese which means both 'write' and 'draw, paint'. As Cobbing was known both for his counter-cultural tendencies and for the humour and playfulness of his work a possible further interpretation is the contention that Shakespeare is 'kak'. Cobbing read all of his works as performances or 'soundings' and hence the text of '15 Shakespeare Kaku' also serves as a score for a performance. The work was recorded in a collaborative venture with Lawrence Casserley during 1972 and 73. Cobbing made the original vocal sounds which Casserley then processed, adding electronic sounds to complete the piece which was first heard at an international poetry festival at Earl's Court in 1973.
''Le dit d'empreinte'
Height 19 cm x width 20 cm
NAL pressmark: X900110
This book of poems and original graphics is by the visual artist and writer Michel Côté. The book's unusual structure, in four unbound sections, was also conceived by the author/artist. Each section comprises a folded leaf of Saint-Armand paper which is silkscreen printed on both sides with graphics, the exterior sides of which have been augmented with paper collage elements in various colours. The leaves are 'lined' with a delicate, translucent Unryu paper also silkscreen printed with the text of a poem in a calligraphic style. As each of the first three sections is unfurled the text of the poems is literally accompanied by the illustrations, visible through the Unryu paper from the leaf below; text and image crosses and mingles, punctuates and supports. The fourth section, in the same folded format, contains colophon information. The book's slip-case, with collaged elements, was produced by Pierre Ouvrard. NAL copy is no. 19 in an edition of 30 copies, signed by the artist.
Height 17 cm x width 17 cm
NAL pressmark: X890096
This book recycles the text of a previous work by Kickshaws Press entitled 'Biobibliographique' (1986), the story of a life told through the titles of books, accompanied by a suite of engravings by the artist Dan Sabatay. In the present work all of the hallmarks of a Kickshaws Press book are typically present: an overall sense of 'bookishness' is pervasive, exemplified both physically in the fine letterpress printing and in the artisanal quality of a private press publication, but also in terms of its subject matter - a celebration of typography for its own sake. In 'Biobibliograffiti' the titles of French literary works are printed on each page in grey, green and black in different type sizes, the 'graffiti' element of the title perhaps suggested by the overprinting of the text, layer upon layer. The result is a beautiful series of typographic colour compositions, as the verbal becomes the visual.
Height 19 cm x width 13 cm
NAL pressmark: X890098
The outwardly traditional appearance of 'Overcoated' published by the Kickshaws Press belies a sense of the unexpected. At first glance, all of the conventions of fine press printing are present: the sober cover, the text exquisitely printed in a delicate grey Egizio Condensed typeface, each page contained within a decorative border printed in violet. The text, by the Scottish writer, typographer and book artist John Crombie, tells the story of the adventures of the protagonist, following the inheritance of a greatcoat from his father. Less conventional however is the presentation of the illustrations by Sheila Bourne, in the form of the silhouette of a coat that works its way up from the bottom of the page, gradually obliterating more of the text with the turn of each page. The work comprises a single strip folded concertina-style and printed on both sides. NAL copy is no. 125 in an edition of 225 numbered copies.
Height 22 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X930139
This artist's book by Simon Cutts is an exploration of the nature of reading and its relationship with the spoken word. The quotations at the beginning and the end of this pamphlet-style work are taken from Stéphane Mallarmé's 'Crise de vers' and concern his theory of the 'pure work' and the power of words. Mallarmé's literary observations serve as a point of departure for Cutt's own work. The text, printed in magenta ink on cream-coloured paper, is made up of a sequence of elegant sentences, phrases, blank pages and words. The pared down aesthetic of the page layout is evidently an essential element of the work. The 'notes' at the end of the work elaborate further. For Cutts the work can be 'read' sequentially but equally 'a haphazard eyeful will reveal some meaning or other'. The printed words that make up the text are celebrated as much for their visual resonance as for their notation of a particular sound.
''Yours for the telling'
Height 18 cm x width 18 cm
NAL pressmark: X890097
This work is a translation into English of 'Conte à votre façon' by the French writer Raymond Queneau, originally published in 'Le nouvel observateur' in July 1967. It was first published in book format by Gallimard in 1981 as part of the anthology 'Contes et Propos'. The following year Kickshaws Press produced an edition in French and a translation into English by John Crombie entitled 'Yours for the telling'. Written in the tone of a fairy tale 'Yours for the telling' is the tale of various types of vegetables with a difference; after every sentence the author offers the reader a choice of paths, for example: 'Would you like to read the tale of three sprightly peas? If so, turn to page 4; if not turn to page 2'. By choosing between a series of alternative possibilities, the reader is offered the chance to devise their own reading of the story. In his writings, Queneau rejected the notion of the passive reader, preferring instead to elicit a more active participation from his audience, thus extending their awareness of the act of reading. In this translated edition designed by John Crombie, with graphics by Sheila Bourne, the story is inventively rendered in the form of a board game, each page presented in a delicate scheme of purple, green and violet lines and squares on a white background. Progression through the 'game' or story is determined by reader choice rather than the conventional throw of a dice.
''Ivan Cuba's festival of arts'
Height 27 cm x width 21 cm
NAL pressmark: X940103
'Ivan Cuba's festival of arts' starts with a detailed autobiography of the artist and goes on to present his self-styled 'Time Warp Paintings' in the form of a bound portfolio of prints. The works presented have the quality of rubber stamp art and are produced either in monochrome or are multi-coloured with bold blocks of added colour. The works in the portfolio evidently draw on Cuba's travels and experiences and also present his highly individual theories on art. A wide range of themes and motives are evident, including a preoccupation with nudes and dinosaurs ('Cuba being the first to paint naked maidens with actual dinosaurs'). Many works demonstrate the artist's unique wit, for example in the form of hoax newspaper articles featuring the artist himself. Artistic influences in evidence include cartoons, Pop Art and rubber stamp art. The distinctly international flavour of the work is underlined by the captions in English, French, Italian or Spanish.
'Mozart, Matisse, Blanche et moi'
Height 28 cm x width 23 cm
NAL pressmark X911018
In the book 'Mozart, Matisse, Blanche et moi', the artist Natalie d'Arbeloff decided to create a work with no preconceived plan of what its subject would be. Starting with a blank plate she began scratching with a drypoint pencil, and drew a bowl of fruit that was in her kitchen. Mozart was playing in the background and this, along with other objects such as a photograph of her mother, Blanche, with her sisters, another of Natalie herself aged 9, and a book about Matisse which happened to be on the table, all served as inspirations that were woven together into the story. The resulting plates were produced in one or two sittings. The double page drawings also contain handwritten texts in English and French scratched into the plates, a technique reminiscent of Matisse's book 'Jazz', another inspiration for the artist. The verso of each page is printed with scratched patterns of lines creating intervals between each double page spread. The work includes autobiographical elements familiar in many of d'Arbeloff's works of self-exploration. The work also serves as a conscious meditation on the nature of the creative process and the things that inspire it. NAL copy is no. 6 in an edition of 6 copies signed by the artist.
'Pensées: a book in five chapters'
Height 22 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X930149
The artist Jeremy Deller has been described as 'an anthropologist of the ordinary'. With 'Pensées' he demonstrates this desire to curate the everyday by collecting together graffiti found on the walls of the British Library lavatories and giving them the status of 'found poems'. The book is laser printed and stapled giving it a cheap throw-away quality, and is wrapped in a 'dust jacket' of rough tissue that is suggestive of old-fashioned toilet paper. Its contents reveal that patrons of the British Library like to indulge in philosophical, literary and political debate, to create acrostics and solve number puzzles when scribbling on toilet walls. However, mixed amongst these high-minded thoughts are moments of puerility that remind the reader just where the 'poems' were found.
'Out of the trees and into the wood'
Height 21 cm x width 17 cm
NAL pressmark: X890147
'Out of the trees and into the wood' contains bold and colourful silk-screened images derived from trees, wood and seeds. Possible themes are growth and the sources of material used in the making of books. The pages comprise one continuous sheet folded accordion-style, bound between corrugated cardboard.
Height 11 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: 801.AF.0014
One in a series of little books produced in a limited, numbered edition of 500; the size and format of each book varies although all include a postcard. 'Little museum' contains 9 photographs of a pair of hands - presumably Joe Dilnot's? - holding various small items: a book ('The first Ladybird book of British birds and their nests'), a fossil, a black-and-white photograph (of a child in a pushchair), a 3d commemorative postage stamp (of the Post Office Tower), card collection ('Trees in Britain'), toy lorry, toy cow, postcard (of a tower and beach view, Herne Bay) and a coin (a two shilling piece). The viewer is left to speculate on the relative significance of the objects displayed.
Height 5 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X930197
Photocopier artist's book. John Dilnot's 'Log' comprises black and white depictions of logs, with the word 'LOG' rubber stamped in red on the cover and 'John Dilnot. Sep. 1993' rubber stamped on the back cover. This book may be seen as a play on the words 'Log book' as it is indeed a 'log of logs'.
'Between the two'
Height 14 cm x width 14 cm
NAL pressmark: X980155
A book without text in which the artist returns to the plant and natural imagery of her early books, this is a work in which the camera is used as an important means of artistic expression rather than as a documentary tool. 'This bookwork is constructed to unravel across the open spread and around the edge of the page to express one continuous visual narrative. It begins with sparse photographic renderings of grasses as black line on white, progresses into a softer tonal sequence embodying flight and finally, in the latter part of the book, develops an arabesque dance of tendrical peas, as light on dark, leading to a flowering of the book. Black and white throughout, the book is bound in scarlet crushed velvet'. From the artist's website: www.weproductions.com
'Water on the border'
Height 19 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X950004
'Water on the border' contains six Chinese poems rendered in calligraphy by Li Bai, Tao Yuanming, Qiwu Qian, Zhang Xiaoxiang; transcribed from the Chinese into Scots by Brian Holton, and vigorous pen and ink drawings by pupils of Yarrow Primary School, Philiphaugh Primary School, Selkirk, and Yin Ma Jim Primary School, Hangzhou. Combined with these drawings are photographic images taken from the water surfaces of Yarrow Water, Scotland and West Lake, Hangzhou. Produced in an edition of 600 as part of the Red Square series.
'Mesmer: secrets of the human frame'
Height 28 cm x width 20 cm
NAL pressmark: X940018
This book is based on an electronic media installation by Toni Dove which investigated the human form within a historical and psychoanalytical context. Inspired by the work of hypnotist Anton Mesmer along with a range of texts including Sigmund Freud and French symbolist Villiers de L'Isle Adam, Dove explores the way the spiritual and the technical were drawn together during the nineteenth century as progressions were made in science, psychology and technology. Dove uses imagery that evokes X-rays, cinema and the gothic novel to create figures which are part human, part mechanical, part mystical. The book is bound between boards of punched metal with jewel-like iridescent paper glittering through the holes creating the effect of something that's both machine-like and precious at the same time. Inside, text and images are printed in different shades of metallic ink with layers of transparent and opaque papers creating a densely visual effect, mirroring the multitude of interweaving ideas that the book explores.
'The Word made flesh'
Height 28 cm x width 33 cm
NAL pressmark: X980169
In this facsimile edition of the Druckwerk original letterpress edition (1989) of 'The Word made flesh' Johanna Drucker works in the tradition of the poet-typographer to explore the visual materiality of the text. A single large-scale black letterform dominates each page, the individual letterforms combining on successive leaves to spell out the title of the book. Surrounding each large black letter are smaller black letters in a variety of sizes, patterns and typefaces which can be read, haltingly, as explorations of the nature of language. A simple linear reading of these texts however is impeded by the complex layout of the words and phrases, compounded by the use of individual letters now forming part of one word, now part of another. The backdrop of each page is formed by a grid-like field of small red capitals which, as the dustjacket explains, 'invokes a reference to the carmina figurata of the Renaissance - works in which a sacred image was picked out in red letters against a field of black type so that a holy figure could be seen and meditated on in the process of reading'. Here the process is reversed encouraging the reader to meditate on the process of reading itself.
Height 31 cm x width 20 cm
NAL pressmark: X890116
This work is a collaboration between poet Bill Manhire and printmaker Andrew Drummond. Manhire's poem is a reflection on both the natural world and on language and comprises the text 'dawn/water poem' printed at the top and foot of each page. As the pages are turned the letter 'a' from 'dawn' gradually trickles vertically down the page like a raindrop. It 'lands' at the bottom of the page, amidst the upper case last line of the poem, but in an unexpected position, to read: 'D WN/WATER aPOEM'. Drummond's accompanying prints face each page, appearing like reflections of light on water. This series of colour images begin almost translucently, then become stronger (orange) only to fade again like the dawn light. A fly flits up and down the left hand margin of each image before flying across the page opening to its final resting place at the end of the poem. The elements of this collaboration between poet and artist are skilfully woven together by printer Alan Loney, who designed the book and its binding. NAL copy is no. 139 in an edition of 200, signed by the author and artist.
''Fragments of an interior'
Height 27 cm x width 19 cm
NAL pressmark: X920029
The 'fragments' in the title of this book could refer to the literal fragments of a broken body, as well as the snippets of text that loom from the paper like bruises. The text grimly details the flaying of the author's body, both physically and metaphorically. Use of colour and texture further augment a strong, disturbing sense of the visceral. The loose leaf pages have been etched in splattered, clotted charbonnel red ink, suggestive of blood, and worked with hard and soft grounds, drypoint needles and fingers. The resulting scratched and scarred pages are soft to the touch, like skin. There is a strong sense of artisanship about the book. Loose leaves are held in a solander box created by Ted Grant at the Warburg Institute using Japanese papers stained with the same charbonnel red ink and sealed with beeswax. Elegantly presented using carefully chosen materials, 'Fragments of an Interior' sets up an uneasy contrast between a beautifully crafted object and the violence of the words it contains. NAL copy is no. 5 in an edition of 10, signed by the artist.
'Abstract refuse: a heteronymic primer'
Height 34 cm x width 20 cm
NAL pressmark: X950031
'Abstract refuse', as hinted at by its title, is a collection of English language heteronyms (two or more words with the same spelling, different pronunciation, different meaning). The heteronyms and their dual and sometimes triplicate definitions are accompanied by illustrations on the theme of the mechanics of remembering and forgetting. Both the text and the images were designed on a Macintosh computer to produce a harmonious page layout in a highly self-conscious computer graphic style.
'The marriage of Heaven and Hell: a reading and study'
Height 31 cm x width 30 cm
NAL pressmark: X950068
This beautifully bound and finely printed book has all the quality and richness of a livre d'artiste. The images are a mixture of thick expressive lines with blurred edges, and fine, sharp marks and hatching. The text consists of a combination of barely legible writing and a wide range of typographical styles.
'An affinity with William Blake's sense of the integrity of the artist's vision and self-created world has been a salient characteristic of Barbara Fahrner's work throughout her career. In this book, Gallo's unconventional 'cyber-punk deconstructionist typography' embodies the stylistic eccentricities of Blake's poem while Fahrner's drawings elliptically respond to its powerful statement. The commanding dimensionality and craftsmanship of this volume equally reference Blake's impassioned text as well as his own work as an artist/publisher'. From Granary Press website: www.califiabooks.com/finepress/g/granary.html
'Nods: àqui to John Cage'
Height 34 cm x width 17 cm
NAL pressmark: X911003
A collaboration between author, typographer and artist. Barbara Fahrner selected extracts from the published writings of writer and avant-garde composer John Cage, submitting them to the type of chance operations that Cage himself used in his work. Each of the texts has been given a different treatment by the innovative typographer Philip Gallo at the Hermetic Press, using a variety of typefaces and arrangements. The inventive typography is complemented by Fahrner's illustrations: linocuts and hand-drawn illustrations in pen & ink and watercolour. Forty-five copies of the book were printed on Rives BFK and handbound by Daniel Kelm at the Wide Awake Garage, with ten copies lettered a-j and 35 numbered, all signed by the collaborators. NAL copy is no. 4.
'Homage to Robert Lax'
Height 26 cm x width 11cm
NAL pressmark: X920205
Homage to Robert Lax' comprises a poem, printed in red and black on plain white pages, consisting of combinations of four words: Richthofen, Reinhardt, crimson and black. The work is a response or possibly even a riposte to Robert Lax's poem 'For Ad Reinhardt', a work itself consisting of the two words: black, blue. Lax was a close friend of the American minimalist painter Ad Reinhardt, best known for his 'black' paintings of the 1960s, works composed entirely of different shades of black. Finlay's homage recalls the layout of many Robert Lax poems in the form of slim vertical columns, giving each syllable its own line, often reproduced from handwriting rather than typeset. Departing from its source of inspiration, Finlay's poem extends into a theme common in his work and encountered in other of his homage series, that of military iconography. Thus he matches 'Reinhardt' with the name of Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen, the famed World War I German fighter pilot, also known as the Red Baron and on the cover, juxtaposes the Iron Cross with a second cross of simple compositional design favoured by Ad Reinhardt in many of his paintings. Finally, where Lax invariably used the simplest colour-words, Finlay invokes poetic associations with 'crimson'.
''The book of nails'
Height 24 cm x width 18 cm x depth 14 cm
NAL pressmark: X930037
This one-of-a-kind book object was produced by Floating Concrete Octopus, an intermedia/performance group which changes its name every year. The work comprises a copy of a book entitled 'Vincent Van Gogh' which has been overpainted in black and sealed at the edges with two nuts and bolts. The covers of this unopenable book have been driven through with nails, the points of which face out threateningly, and then 'decorated' with splashes of red paint, resembling blood. A facsimile of Van Gogh's signature painted in gold is visible on the front cover, with a torn, collaged portrait of the artist on the lower cover, possibly portraying the pain of the famous artist's life. The publisher's catalogue of 1990-91 wittily sums up the work's essential qualities: 'The one black book you will never open. This is the Wakest bible & essential reading for all devotees. Difficult reading.'
Height 11 cm x width 17 cm
NAL pressmark: X890060
This bookwork by Brad Freeman explores the use of offset as a creative artistic medium. Rather than featuring reproductions of previously existing images 'Weird habits' comprises images that have been conceived and constructed by the artist within offset production itself. The book begins with footprints of a man and a dinosaur in the sand. A series of photographs of a man driving, faint at first, gradually appear, superimposed on the sand in a montage effect. Next to the man on the passenger seat are photographs of dinosaurs, which come to life, breaking out of their frames to dominate the second half of the story. They eventually become submerged within the multi-coloured image of a surfer which itself fades to become footprints in the sand again. In an accordion fold format, printed on both sides, the work was designed, photographed and printed by Freeman, with calligraphic title line on card cover by Tina Hudak.
'A passage from Wassily Kandinsky's 'Reminiscences''
Height 20 cm x width 13 cm
NAL pressmark: X890072
Printmaker, book artist and publisher Diane Fine is the founder and main creative force behind the Moonkosh Press (active 1984-1992). The impulse to produce this artist's book is stated on its colophon, 'For many years the essay REMINISCENCES, written in 1913, has inspired and informed this publisher. Its sweet clarity is comforting and beautiful.' The format of the work is a four page folded broadside, printed on handmade paper. The text, in Spectrum typeface, is a lyrical description of a Moscow sunset, accompanied in the margin by a Kandinskyish rainbow of coloured pencil marks. Attached to the front page is a miniature 12 page booklet, the pages of which are decorated with abstract shapes. NAL copy is no. 14 in an edition of 125 copies.
Height 14 cm x width 20 cm
NAL pressmark: X920300
This artist's book comprises drawings and texts made from a 20 day walking journey in Nepal in early 1983. Describing himself as a walking artist, Hamish Fulton has been making walks since the late 1960s, his work originating from these encounters with the landscape. His walks are materialised in artworks in the form of photographs, words and line drawings. Alongside work displayed in galleries, Fulton has also used the medium of the artist's book to realise his work. 'Twilight horizons' records 'a twenty day walking journey from Dumre to Leder in Manang and back to Pokhara by way of Khudi'. The experience of the journey is conveyed primarily by line drawings printed in red of, for example, clouds, a ridge, mountains, skylines, phases of the moon and village wall paintings. Equally important are the accompanying captions, succinct texts relaying information on the individual work's subject, colour or place. The line drawings are interspersed by occasional word pieces, landscapes in words, conveyed by the varying scale and colour of their typographic arrangement. A further dramatic interlude takes the form of a stark mountain horizon printed in black.
Height 21 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X940024
In his works of concrete poetry (an art form based on the visual aspects of words) Heinz Gappmayr frequently considers the connection between notions or concepts and the signs that are used to convey them. For Gappmayr the placement of a particular sign on the page is an important element of our understanding of the meaning of the notion it signifies. In his work ZEIT (Time), Gappmayr breaks down the four individual signs or letters Z, E, I and T into their constituent elements or strokes and then makes individual elements of each sign visible in different arrangements on successive page openings. Language is literally reduced as its signs are presented in a new relationship to space (the page), and time (linear reading is abandoned) ultimately becoming objects to be perceived rather than read.
'The tornado treaty'
Height 14 cm x width 14 cm
NAL pressmark: X890050
This story, with its subtext of nuclear war, tells of unspecified military operations almost destroying a remote island. It is told through a visual whirlwind of colour, surface pattern, angular shapes and minimal text. Simple jagged forms are used to depict the sinister men and the tornado-like missiles they unleash on the island. The dynamic imagery creates a strong sense of the chaos caused by the tornado's buffeting, creating an uneasiness in the reader that escalates as the pages are turned.
''Agrippa: a book of the dead'
Height 41 cm
NAL pressmark: Safe Room
A collaboration between the artist Dennis Ashbaugh and the author William Gibson, this book is designed to self-destruct on use. A computer floppy disk encrypted with a virus contains an autobiographical text by William Gibson relating to the death of his father when the author was aged six, triggered by the discovery of his father's old photograph album, a type marketed by Kodak in the 1920s under the name 'Agrippa'. When the disk is viewed, the words of the story begin scrolling up the screen at a preset speed, the virus corrupting all the data. The first 'reading' of the disk is therefore also the last. The disk is contained in a cut-out portion of the book and is accompanied by a 46 page 'text' of DNA code and a series of copperplate etchings by Ashbaugh representing images of human genes, the latter printed in ink designed to rub off if touched which echoes the book's theme of decay. Held in a dark slate-grey case with a base of honeycombed board reinforced with wire wire mesh and distressed paper, treated to simulate corrosion and fire damage.
''Une Version initiale du premier chapitre de 'Voyage au bout de la nuit''
Height 27 cm x width 20 cm
NAL pressmark: X890057
As suggested by its title, this work presents an initial version (later revised) of the first chapter of French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline's picaresque novel 'Voyage au bout de la nuit' first published by Denoël and Steele in 1932. Taken from the original manuscript version before the author's corrections, the typed transcription is immediately followed, line by line in small capitals, by the published version of the text, allowing a close comparison of the two versions and an insight into the author's process of (re)composition. Céline's novel, which presents a pessimistic vision of a twentieth-century world of inequality and alienation, is accompanied by 12 etchings by Thomas Gosebruch, 10 full page, one double page and one half page illustration on the colophon. The etchings comprise a series of semi-abstract compositions depicting partial, shadowy figures and bleak landscapes in starkly-toned shades of black and grey.
''Book in a jar'
Height 15 cm; 19 cm diameter
NAL pressmark: X900248
'Book in a jar' is a unique book object consisting of a sealed 'Kilner dual purpose jar' containing a mixture of sour milk, fermenting rice and a book of sketches drawn by Hall during a visit to Germany. The jar's label has been signed by Hall and is dated April 9th 1984. Hall noticed the jar containing a small quantity of rice on his kitchen shelf one day and decided to place his German sketchbook inside it, cutting it up to make it fit. He then poured in a bottle of milk and sealed the jar.These curious contents are slowly decomposing in their air-tight container, the glass becoming murkier, the grains of rice resembling maggots. Gradually, this bookwork is undergoing a total physical change and turning into something new. It is one in a series of works in jars that Hall produced during the same period that focussed on the concept of containment and imprisonment.
''Neopostmodrinism, or, Dieser Rasen ist kein Hundeklo, or, Gabberjabb Number 6'
Height 18 cm x width 25 cm
NAL pressmark: X890001
Walter Hamady is an artist, poet, teacher, printer and papermaker who has self published since 1964 through his Perishable Press. With a tendency to challenge the traditional notion of the book, Perishable Press publications are noted for their hand-made paper, distinguished typography and unique colophons. This work called alternatively 'Neopostmodrinism, or, Dieser Rasen ist kein Hundeklo, or, Gabberjabb Number 6' is one of 'The Interminable Gabberjabbs' series Hamady began in 1973. Along with the other works in the series, this book seeks to focus attention on its form as much as its intellectual content. The tone of the work is overwhelmingly playful, incorporating a cornucopia of techniques including collage, rubber stamps, found materials, cuts, and folded and stuck pages, to name but a few. Hamady the printer (as well as the author) is omnipresent in the work; pages are continually self-referential ('Do not count as page number 43a') and printers' ornaments and devices are constantly foregrounded. The book also plays with the gutter and foredges of pages, an area Hamady describes as the 'empty quarter' of the book, not usually 'seen' while reading. Hamady remedies this by filling several of them with images or text. The rules change with each page, showing Hamady's creative self expression as both writer and printer. NAL copy is no. 109 in an edition of 125.
'Why shoot Andy Warhol?'
Height 17 cm x width 23 cm
NAL pressmark: X890021
Artist Al Hansen was a member of the Fluxus art movement as well as being involved in the 1960s pop art scene, and as such was an habitué of Andy Warhol's Factory. On the night that Valerie Solanas shot Warhol, Hansen was on his way up to the Factory, just missing Solanas in the elevator as she hurried away from the scene of the crime. Hansen was one of the first people to arrive on the scene and later made the book 'Why shoot Andy Warhol?' about that fateful night. This book was produced in a limited edition of thirty copies and consists of a cardboard box with a hand-coloured photocopy title-sheet. Inside the box are four loose pages of comic-strip style illustrations, three of these are hand-coloured photocopies, one is hand-drawn and coloured. There is also a sheet of handwritten text ruminating on the non-fatal shooting of Warhol 'the Leonardo da Vinci of the twentieth century' and comparing it to a Fluxus Happening.
Height 10 cm x width 7 cm x depth 7 cm
NAL pressmark: X940184
This is the first in a series of limited edition snowglobe bookworks by William Harroff. The title of the work, 'I Pledge', derives from its content: namely words taken from the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States, which first appeared in the September 8, 1892 issue of 'The Youth's Companion' and which is attributed to the magazine's assistant editor, Francis Bellamy. The oath was subsequently revised in 1924 and again in 1954. The prototype of this work was created in 1992, on the 100th anniversary of the original Pledge. The bookwork functions like a traditional Christmas snowglobe; when gently shaken, the word particles taken from the oath float in the glycerin solution. Unlike traditional books however, the words can be 'read' in a random order and in new combinations each time by the viewer. This playful bookwork reflects the artist's interest in words, the contemplation of their individual meanings and their liberation from the printed page.
Killing III 1989 Height 34 cm x width 23 cm NAL pressmark: X891017
This work by Denise Hawrysio is the third in her 'Killing' series of four books produced in 1988/9. The pages of these works are made from leopard skin fur ('Killing I' held in the Special Collections at Chelsea College of Art & Design Library), Black Russian mink ('Killing II' held by the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library, Canada), English rabbit ('Killing III') and imitation deer fur ('Imaginary Killing') respectively. Each work has been bound in blood-red buckram, stamped with the title 'Killing' in gold on the cover and housed in a red clamshell binders box. The use of animal pelts in these works has frequently led to their attribution as a wordless protest against the senseless slaughter of animals for the fur industry. On encountering 'Killing III' however there is a pervasive sense of irony at play as any notions of protest are expertly mingled with the irrefutable seductiveness and allure of its highly tactile and deeply sensuous fur pages.
Height 24 cm x width 22 x depth 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X920046
This unique artist's book by Gloria Helfgott is characteristic of her exquisitely crafted bookworks, encased in boxes, to be discovered. The parchment outer casing contains a blue suede box-style 'binding' decorated with a carved and gold-painted sunburst. This opens symmetrically to reveal two accordion-folded sheets, richly adorned, which themselves fold away to reveal an 'inner sanctum' or compartment guarded by two hinged, gold doors. These open to reveal a structure of paper sections containing five metallic-painted tablets corresponding to the five books of the Pentateuch or Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). The leaves and tablets are richly embellished with gold paint, metallic thread, paste jewels, cut work, and a series of miniature Judaica including a Torah scroll, a map (of the Israelite exodus from Egypt) and two miniature illuminations depicting Adam, Eve & the serpent and Samson and the lion. The sumptuous feel of the work is highly evocative of Jewish ritual art. Signed and dated by the artist.
'Autistext: poetry before I learned to read'
Height 22 cm x width 17 cm
NAL pressmark: X891085
Helmes experiments with concrete poetry, a form of writing in which the way letters and words are arranged on the page becomes as important as their linguistic meaning. He plays with letters using them as visual units which are arranged on the page to build up black and white abstract images. The poems in 'Autistext: poetry before I learned to read' cannot be read in the conventional sense, but can be understood as 'visual poems', so the placing of the text on the pages creates a series of abstract images which still convey meaning. Some of Helmes' poems have been created using letters made with rubber stamps and arranged around the page into shapes and patterns. These letters have often been overstamped several times until they become obliterated and unrecognisable. Towards the end of the book, these rubber-stamped poems are smudged and smeared as if the stamps have been dragged across the page whilst empty space is filled with cross-hatching to create richly textured forms. The obscured text is sending a message that can never be read (hence the book's subtitle), but one that can still be received.
'5 empty bookcases'
New York, USA
Height 41 cm x width 30 cm
NAL pressmark: X920309
The opening quotation from Kierkegaard about a bookseller climbing a ladder to get a book for a client sets the scene for this artist's book as successive page openings reveal a series of five pop-up constructions representing bookcases. Hofstra's familiar use of intricate paper constructions in the form of pop-ups are here created from pages of a mathematical text-book, a novel, an atlas, a sheet of music and a dictionary respectively, the materials used representing elements of the world of knowledge and effectively engendering the atmosphere of a dusty bookshop.
'Elements of geometry by Euclid'
Height 31 cm x width 30 cm
NAL pressmark: X950040
Based on the first printed edition of Euclid's early treatise on geometry entitled 'Preclarissimus liber elementorum Euclidis perspicacissimi in artem geometrie', published in Venice in 1482, Hofstra's work transforms Euclid's original text pages by softening and blurring the text until it becomes a backdrop of geometric patterns from which 3-dimensional geometric shapes spring forth in the form of pop-ups. Later openings are accompanied by printed marginalia which itself disintegrates into partial word and letter forms on successive leaves.
New York, USA
Height 32 cm x width 24 cm
NAL pressmark: X930115
This artist's book by Sjoerd Hofstra explores the idea of physical and narrative sequence. The text, by Hans Reichenbach, on a theme of personal identity (older self encounters younger self) is accompanied by increasing fragmentation of both image and narrative until they no longer fit neatly between the confines of each page but spill across page boundaries, overlapping from one page to the next. The final two openings are constructed to unfold to reveal an image escaping from the page. The sequence of illustrations which mirror and partially obscure the narrative, depicts a bookcase. As the narrative becomes more chaotic books begin to fall from the shelves.
''Seven computer landscapes'
Height 17 cm x width 21 cm
NAL pressmark: X940116
Artist Valerie Hollister has been drawing simplified landscapes on her Macintosh computer for many years. She draws 'freehand' with a mouse using a relatively simple programme. The computer drawings are based on pencil sketches and paintings done of actual landscape views. Seven of these drawings, along with an essay and descriptive captions, were published by Occasional Works, a small Californian press, in this accordion-fold, limited edition book in 1993. The seven landscapes in this perspex bound book are all of places 'away from home' for Hollister, among them: Vermont in the United States, Prevessin in France, St. Anton in Austria, and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The work blends the computer drawn landscapes with the traditional letterpress printing of the text elements. For Hollister, the simplicity of her tools and their effects are significant, 'I was interested in the challenges posed by the narrow choice of grays (really combinations of black and white squares) and by the small size and scale of the black and white image seen on the screen'. Each of the original landscapes has been 'translated' using the computer to produce a new interpretation of its beauty
''Carmen dalekorum: dalek symphony being songs of Stephen Micalef, bearded bishop of leisure'
Height 23 cm width x 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X920160
'Carmen dalekorum' is described by the artist in a letter to the National Art Library as a 'hymnal / reliquary of these TV heroes', that is the Daleks from the classic BBC science fiction television series 'Doctor Who'. The work is a first edition collection of poetry by Stephen Micalef, illustrated by Mark Hudson. The cover of polished copper is etched in relief with the book's title and the image of a battleground scene contested by an army of Daleks and mounted horsemen. A similar scene is relief etched on one side of an accompanying bookmark of copper with cellulose enamel. Both scenes are details from the double page lineblock illustration to one of the poems entitled 'Dalek Symphony' appearing on the centre pages of the volume. The endpapers are blind embossed with musical notation. NAL copy is no. 5 in an edition of 30.
''Votes for women ; Exercises for the growing girl'
Height 22 cm x width 15cm
NAL pressmark: X890155
This unique bookwork was printed with a Canon copier machine by Sarah Jackson, a pioneer of the use of photocopiers to produce works of art. Jackson is attracted to the method for its democratic potential - anyone can use photocopiers, both as a creative tool and as a printing press, to produce art works of their own. This artist's book comprises two separate works, in an accordion folded format. The first work, 'Votes For Women' presents a series of found images relating to the suffragette movement in Edwardian England, which have been partially distorted and printed in red. The frontispiece is a portrait of Lady Constance Lytton who was active in the movement and the work ends with a short text about her activism. Due to its dos-à-dos format, the book can then be turned over to reveal a second work entitled 'Exercises for the Growing Girl' printed in green, which reproduces an article from an Edwardian magazine with this title by Marion Malcolm. The text is accompanied by a series of found images of a woman exercising. The images have been moved on the photocopier during production, so that they have become distorted and blurred at the edges which increases the sense of movement of the exercising, growing girl. The work concludes with a poem by Jackson, another frequent element in her bookworks. In a handmade cover with an abstract design made from cutouts.
'(Compound frame): seven poems by Emily Dickinson'
Height 20 cm x width 27 cm
NAL pressmark: X980168
This collaborative work by Susan Johanknecht and Elizabeth Steiner was co-published by the Janus and Gefn Presses in Vermont and London. The seven poems by Emily Dickinson that form the text were selected by Susan Johanknecht who also made the accompanying woodcuts and linoleum cuts. The unusual book structure by Elizabeth Steiner, is made even more striking by the juxtaposition of both traditional and unconventional materials. The woodcuts are printed on a traditional Kozo paper, while a more experimental approach is conveyed by the cut outs on the front and back leaves, the end sheets made from patterned vinyl and the binding made from needlepoint mat. Claire Van Vliet clarifies the work's emphasis on structure and use of materials in the accompanying Note for standing order patrons: 'The covers are needlepoint mat, something I have wanted to use for a long time in a binding. This book had been in the works for five years and had never quite gelled. When Elizabeth Steiner was here last October to work on our collaboration on book structures she had a model of backstitch binding that made the whole project finally click'.
'Giving fear a proper name: Detroit'
Height 15 cm in box 18 x 15 x 7 cm
NAL pressmark: X920162
This small square book is bound in innocuous looking pink material, the only indication of the sinister content is a small cap-gun on the end of a ribbon for use as a book-mark. The book contains miniature tableaux depicting phobias along with a text relating to the phobia. The depictions use a variety of disturbing materials, such as hair, pins and human teeth. The collaged illustrations have a photographic portrait element, lending them anatomical authority of a distinctly alarming nature. This is a beautifully crafted, deeply disturbing piece.
'Aunt Sallie's lament'
Height 29 cm; in box 31 x 25 x 3 cm
NAL pressmark: X890087
The artist Margaret Kaufman describes 'Aunt Sallie's lament' as 'a poem that is the autobiography of a spinster quilter stitched with mutterings that accumulate as the cut pages are turned becoming a diamond quilt shape'. The poem tells the story of a southern American quilter reminiscing about a love lost but not forgotten. Each stanza of the poem is accompanied by a muttering, one or two words printed at the edge of the page, which remain in view as each subsequent page is turned. The variously shaped leaves are made up of a complex series of cut out pastel paper shapes that mimick the patterns of a quilt. This diamond-shaped book designed by Claire Van Vliet is in an accordion fold format that can stretch to 105 inches revealing all the stanzas, and is housed within a floral fabric covered box. The text, materials and format all combine vividly to examine the notion of the quilt as artefact, elevating its status to that of a complex historical record, rather than merely a pretty, decorative object.
Height 5 cm x width 4 cm
NAL pressmark: X890073
Beppe Kessler is a painter, jewellery maker and occasional book artist. She is inspired by many different materials to produce her work which has earned her the title of 'the material girl'. When a film producer friend of hers gave her a batch of 35 mm film she used it to embark on a new book art project. Kessler cut up the film into one inch strips. Following earlier experiments involving the painting of the underside of PVC sheets, she decided to paint over the hidden images on the film in vivid colours. These were then scratched with abstract text and the resulting small 'pages' spiral bound together with a piece of elastic band to produce a series of miniature books. The NAL copy is no. 23 - most of the other copies in the limited edition were bought by her film producer friend!
Height 22 cm x width 14 cm
NAL pressmark: X910029
'Leporello 1' consists of eighteen black-and-white photographs of a man holding a black staff in front of a light background. The sequence seems to depict movement, an effect enhanced by the concertina form as it is visible from all sides. 'Leporello 1' and 'Leporello 2' both make use of this same sequence of photographs, with the artist in each case creating a different overprint. In 'Leporello 1', Ines von Ketelhodt overprints typography on to the photos. A text excerpt from Joachim Schumacher's 'Leicht 'gen Morgen unterwegs' is sprinkled across the pages, the text dismembered into lines, words or even single letters. The book is concertina printed on both sides, bound in boards covered with grey paper. Produced in a limited edition of 60 signed copies.
Height 22 cm x width 14 cm
NAL pressmark: X910030
'Leporello 2' consists of eighteen black-and-white photographs of a man holding a black staff in front of a light background. The sequence seems to depict movement, an effect enhanced by the concertina form as it is visible from all sides. 'Leporello 1' and 'Leporello 2' both make use of this same sequence of photographs, with the artist in each case creating a different overprint. In 'Leporello 2', Peter Malutzki of FlugBlatt-Presse overprints the photos with lines of different colour. The pictures are preceded by a motto taken from a quote from 'Natürliches Zauber-Buch oder Neu-eröffneter Spiel-Platz rare Künste' (Nürnberg, 1745). The book is concertina printed on both sides, bound in boards covered with grey paper. Produced in a limited edition of 60 signed copies.
Height 10 cm x width 10 cm x depth 4cm (in box)
NAL pressmark: X890089
The 'milagros' (meaning miracles) referred to in the title of this bookwork are small religious folk charms traditionally used as votive offerings in the southern United States, Latin America and parts of rural Spain. These small charms in the form of arms, legs, ears, animals, fruits or other objects can be flat or three dimensional, and made of gold, silver, wood, lead, wax or any other material. They are often attached to statues of saints or other sacred objects as a petition for a particular need or as thanks for a prayer answered. 'Doce milagros' by American artists Kurt Kiefer and Brad Freeman is a box of images of twelve body parts. On the box lid it states, 'Intended to be given to people who have ailments related to images enclosed'.
''Support living artists!: 1987'
Height 17 cm x width 13 cm
NAL pressmark: X890006
This portfolio of mail art contains four cards in envelopes, each designed, and hand made by the Kentucky born, California-based bookmaker, writer and artist Susan E. King. The cards, titled 'Liberace Valentine', 'Rilke Calling Card', 'Van Gogh Summer Solstice Card, Van Gogh Winter Solstice Card', and 'O'Keeffe Centennial' quote from the diaries or letters of the deceased artists - Liberace (1919-1987), Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) and Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986). The quotes on each card relate to esoteric holidays experienced by the artists. King's intention in this work was to offer inspiration from the words of dead artists and show support for emerging artists in California. Published in a limited edition on her own press, this work was the first in the 'Support Living Artists!' series of bookworks, published between 1987 and 1989.
'Suchan Kinoshita: scenario : 11 sept. t-m 14 nov. 1993'
Diameter 10.5 cm x height 10.5 cm
NAL pressmark: X930242
This work is a 'catalogue' published in an edition of 400 copies to accompany an exhibition held at the Stadsgalerij Heerlen between 11 September and 14 November 1993. It takes the form of a stack of fifty-two circular Heineken beer-mats onto the back of which text and images have been printed, scored, or embossed. Each beer-mat represents a page, the first one in the pile containing the catalogue's title page information. This is followed by six beer-mats printed with a simple scene by scene script, written in Dutch, for a short film by artist Stan Douglas entitled 'I'm Not Gary' and a further three beer-mats with text relating to the exhibition and other artists. The remainder of the mats are filled with simple, single colour images: doodles, scribbles, child-like drawings, notes, equations. The final beer-mat 'page' is the catalogue's colophon printed with publishing details and ISBN, confirming beyond doubt that this pile of beer-mats is indeed a 'book'.
'Footnotes: collage journal 30 years'
Height 26 cm x width 18 cm
NAL pressmark: 603.AB.1087
This book is a collection of images of pages from the artist's journals. The pages contain a mixture of writings, cut-outs, rubbings, sketches and found objects, such as dried lilies and wine labels. On some of the opposing pages are pieces of poetical text, seemingly unrelated, but which add another dimension to the reading of the book. The work is a travelogue of sorts; an 'accounting of where her feet (and hands and mind) have taken her' (Jerome Rothenberg, from the preface of the book). Knowles has mined her original travel books and pasted them on to fresh sheets, further supplementing them with new material collected more recently on a European trip, annotated with explanatory footnotes. The book accompanied an exhibition by the artist at the Emily Harvey Gallery in October 2000.
Height 22 cm x width 17.5 cm
NAL pressmark: X890154
This work is quite literally a book of letters; five sealed transparent plastic sleeves contain loose letter shapes floating within their confines. These are interleaved with sheets of graph paper which help to chart and fix the positions of the letters on the page. With a gentle shake of the book, they rearrange themselves, along with their attendant commas, semi-colons and full stops. In this way the abstract language or text of the book is constantly changing.
Height 15 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X930234
Dorothé Krol was fascinated by goats as a child in her native Friesland in the North of the Netherlands. Later in life she decided to create an artist's book dedicated to them. Bound within hand made wooden boards with a hessian spine, 'Geiten' comprises two separate sections of text and images attached head to tail (tête-bêche) around a central cardboard frame giving the work the box-like quality of a children's book. The contents of both sections are made up of alternating coloured lithographic illustrations separated by translucent pages onto which handwritten texts and drawings (mainly of goats) are printed. Attached to the inner board that separates the two textblock sections are a plastic sample bag containing pellets of goat dung and a sound mechanism (a mamma box) which emits a goat-like squeak when the book is turned over.
Height 32 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X890047
Hedi Kyle is well known for her innovative book structures. In this work, the traditional genre of the alphabet book is refreshed with a playful structure that enables the book to be read in different ways. Each page is a xeroxed card with a cut out letter form, and watercolour, ink and collage elements. The cards are arranged in sets of three and can be turned in a conventional manner. The piano hinge book construction also means that when the book is pulled open the cards arrange themselves so that all of the letters of the alphabet can be displayed simultaneously.
''Measure, cut, stitch'
Height 24 cm x width 21 cm
NAL pressmark: X890008
Ruth Laxson's artists' books are beautifully crafted ruminations on language as a visual medium. The dark grey paper cover boards of 'Measure, cut, stitch' enclose pages in various combinations of black, white and grey. The typically monochrome palette is relieved only by a splash of exposed red stitching on the spine. The work, through various cut out pages and notations, has the feel of a sewing pattern book. The text, both handwritten and typeset, is made up of an array of partial stories, unfinished sentences, letters shaped into diagrams, musical notation, mathematical symbols, and algebraic formulas, that are rich in interpretative possibilities, both playful and profound. In three sections, Part I: measure, is printed black on white in a free, naïve style that includes scribbly drawings and pseudo-scientific diagrams. Part II: cut, is printed white and black on grey in a more sombre, consistent layout. Part III: stitch, is more focused, dwelling on the word 'stitch', mulling it over typographically. NAL copy is no. 40 in an edition of 75 copies, signed by the artist.
'Sky never stops: poemkon'
Height 41 cm x width 24 cm x depth 24 cm
NAL pressmark: X940266
Sculptor, writer, artist and performer Liliane Lijn began to produce poem machines in 1962. These works use text that is rotated at speed on a cylindrical or conical structure. Her sources of inspiration for this project were her reading of Buddhist texts and the Tibetan prayer wheel, works by William S. Burroughs and the cut-up technique. 'Sky never stops' was made in 1965 and is one of this series. The words, which are made from letraset, are affixed to a cone that revolves on a turntable. As they revolve the words become blurred and according to Lijn are 'sublimated and become pure energy'. During the 1970s Lijn developed this theme further with her koan sculptures which use the same conical structure as 'Sky never stops' but which use colours rather than words. She also produced large scale sculptures such as the White Koan which can be seen today on campus at the University of Warwick.
'Rags make paper'
Height 22 cm x width 17 cm
NAL pressmark: X920259
Unique artist's book comprising leaves of handmade paper connected by assorted rag strips in a concertina format. The leaves include collage elements including fragments of fabric and paper money; at the heart of the book is part of a navy, red-spotted tie attached to a 100 drachmae note, illustrating the text 'Banks make loans'. The collage elements all illustrate the texts which are variously stamped or glued or sewn onto the leaves and which read 'Rags make paper', 'Paper makes money', 'Money makes banks', 'Banks make loans', 'Loans make beggars', 'Beggars make rags'. Contained in a brown cloth wrapper tied with string.
Height 37 cm x width 26 cm
NAL pressmark: X940003
Artist's book. 'This edition is packaged in a heavy paper envelope with a black line printed across the upper left corner, like the announcements handed out to friends and relatives when someone dies ... The envelope ... contains seven Polaroid transfer prints and one photo paired with eight letterpressed cards with printed phrases that refer to each image. The cards, or broadsides, resemble the death notices commonly plastered throughout the towns of Southern Italy and small towns even in the north, with black cornices or decorative borders, and bold sans-serif typefaces' - accompanying sheet. The phrases on the cards appear in the following order, forming a natural grouping of rhyming pairs: Softporn, Popcorn; We buy, Animals cry; Circus clown, We drown; Animals rear, We disappear. 'These images were photographed on the streets of Calabria ... The seven transfer prints, originally in the form of slides, were printed with an instant slide printer and transferred onto damp etching paper with a roller' - colophon. Limited edition of 20 copies. NAL copy is number 9, signed by the artist.
Height 36 cm x width 36 cm
NAL pressmark: X930215
This work consists of six paper plates based on fourteenth and fifteenth century dishes known as 'Belle Donne' or 'Coppe Amatorie' depicting portraits of women. The poetic text surrounding the portraits on these paper plates resemble the painted scrolls on the original plates which indicated the woman's name followed or preceded by the adjective 'bella'. In a descriptive sheet accompanying the paper plates, the artist explains: 'The invented text describes the plates, which were not realistic but idealized portraits or caricatures of the women. The portraits reflect the styles of dress influenced by court life in each area, and the styles of local artists. These plates were not destined for daily use - they were decorative dishes presented on special occasions such as courtship, engagement and marriage.' The ceramicists copied the images from available etchings, Lorenz returning them to print form again in the form of these paper plates. The plates are collographs made from spaghetti, sealed with vinyl glue and then inked in six colours. The book is presented in a narrow wooden crate suitable for shipping glass or china with slats on both sides through which the faces on the plates can be seen. The six plates are slotted into two sets of triptychs resembling wooden cupboards. The individual plates each have a handmade triangular brass hook which allows them to be displayed individually on a wall.
Height 14 cm x width 22 cm
NAL pressmark: X891091
'Fast pass' is a collection of poems with the theme of city life, written by Barbara Luck. The individual poems are entitled: White Noise 1, 2, 3; Fast talk, fast pass; Shadow play; Peeing in public; I just got here; Red scarf. The book has a screwpost binding with an aluminium spine and plastic sleeves containing four unique collages by Susan Johanknecht who is also responsible for the printing (at Janus Press), handset Trump Mediaeval with Brush titling on Mohawk Superfine paper. Produced in a limited edition of 150 numbered and signed copies. NAL copy is no. 88.
Height 11 cm; in box 18 x 23 x 5 cm
NAL pressmark: X912001
This work by Alice Maude-Roxby was included in an exhibition entitled 'Art in boxes' held at England & Co. gallery in 1991. 'Log book' comprises a manipulated copy of a found German-Italian grammar book, encased in a glass fronted box frame. Tiny cuts and folds of the book's pages have been made to create the illusion of miniature fir trees growing out of the text. The artist was interested in making collapsible art and the cut out images can be pushed back into the page and the book shut and shelved. The accompanying artist's statement indicates how the work should be displayed, 'The book should be kept horizontal or tilted to a maximum of about 30 degrees, not hung on a wall. The box is purely a framing device and I have exhibited the book outside of it [and] in a larger museum case which allows the book to be better lit, i.e. from behind so that the trees cast shadows'.
'Brancusi 'Der Kusz' (Kalkstein)'
Height 45 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X940261
Artist's book comprising 20 still photographs of kissing scenes from Hollywood movies, taken from a TV screen. These are overprinted with text by Friederike Mayröcker; the text is set in 14 point roman type, printed in silver, and is distributed across the surface of the pictures. Additionally text from Goethe's 'Faust', set in red 72 point roman type, runs through the centre of the pages, parallel to the pictures. The book has an accordion fold format, printed on one side, and is reminiscent of a film strip. Inspiration came from Tornatore's 'Cinema Paradiso' and the idea for the slipcase with lid came from Brancusi's sculpture 'The Kiss'. Tooled on the black, paper-covered slipcase is a triangular shape which forms a square (red and/or silver) when pieced together with the triangle tooled on the lid. Limited edition of 50 signed copies. NAL copy is number 3.
Height 25 cm x width 18 cm
NAL pressmark: X940027
Contains drawn and painted images by Timothy Ely and text by Terence McKenna. The images comprise colourful abstract explosions of colour, combined with more refined graphic elements and calligraphic symbols. The rich visuals sometimes seem to allude to ancient languages and maps. The text explores large themes such as history, nature, art and language. The dark binding is covered in blind-tooled graphics and pock marks and also features a small brass plate. NAL copy is number 26 in a limited edition of 55, signed by the author and artist.
Height 18 cm x width 19 cm
NAL pressmark: X890220
This playful piece of book art offers visual, tactile and linguistic pleasures as well as inviting more profound interpretation. Bound in a soft cover, the bright yellow, thickly textured potato-print on the front cover links it to another of McLean's bookworks entitled 'A potato against a black background'. The initial page of text is a poem that uses word-play and idioms referring to furniture and domestic interiors, the room a metaphor for life or a situation entered, successfully negotiated and exited. The subsequent pages interpolate single phrases on semi-translucent paper, with lino-cuts, hand-painted by the artist in daubed, pure colour. Placement of the text associates the edges of the page with the walls of a room and each phrase corresponds loosely to the image it precedes, partially visible before the page is turned. Elements of a home environment are listed, conveying a sense of absence. 'Home Manoeuvres' was published to coincide with McLean's exhibition entitled 'The Floor, The Fence, The Fireplace' at Anthony d'Offay Gallery in London, in March 1987. The text is by McLean himself and writer and critic Mel Gooding and was published by the Knife Edge Press which they formed together in 1985.
West Burke, USA
Height 25 cm x width 34 cm
NAL pressmark: X930104
This book comprises texts of recipes and poetry based on common expressions, adages and song and nursery rhyme quotations which make use of the imagery of food and eating. The illustrations of forks, spoons, a sieve and a knife, and photographs of bread, cherries and sausages are printed on hand-made paper. An impression of a fork has been moulded into the first leaf. The book is wrapped in a rumpled linen dinner napkin. This book contains text by Katharine Meynell, the images and book design were produced in collaboration with Susan Johanknecht.
Height 23 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X930145
This book presents the body as a receptacle holding many different substances: solid and liquid as well as ideas. Text is printed on transparent sheets interleaved with sealed transparent pockets containing traces of bodily fluids. The book is completely transparent, allowing the reader to see right through it, observing all parts of it in one go. One can see physical traces of bodily emissions as well as printed text representing the world of ideas. This book contains text by Katharine Meynell, the images and book design were produced in collaboration with Susan Johanknecht.
'Mare fecunditatis: seas of the moon'
Height 27 cm x width 29 cm
NAL pressmark: X890275
A meditation on pregnancy and the moon. Katharine Meynell's poetic text plays upon the names of the Seas of the Moon to describe the feelings of pregnancy. Susan Johanknecht's accompanying collagraphs depict pocket-like images which bring to mind the cradle or the womb. These themes are repeated through the book which is bound in iridescent lunar plastic and contained in a denim slipcase.
Height 26 cm x width 38 cm x depth 38 cm
NAL pressmark: 805.AA.0001
Jack Milroy has taken a small hardback book entitled 'Cacti and succulents' by Rudolf Subik and Jirina Kaplicka and created a verdant paradise. He has cut out the illustrations of the plants from inside the book, leaving a tendril of text joining the picture to the book. The blooming cacti and succulent succulents burst from the confines of the covers, bringing the book to life. Milroy's work has been likened to Joseph Cornell and has been described as sharing the 'casual wit and poetry of the Surrealists' (Andrew Lambirth, 'Hidden depths', The Spectator, 20 Feb. 1999). Milroy acknowledges influences from Picasso and Max Ernst, and his work shares some of the inventiveness of the former and the humour of the latter. 'Librarian's garden' is a beautifully evocative piece which uses the book form as both container and liberator.
''The open & closed book: contemporary book arts'
Height 17 cm x width 11 cm x depth 5 cm
NAL pressmark: X930110
This work by Yohei Nishimura is one of a series of bookworks that are the result of the artist's experiments of working on various objects by firing them in a kiln, 'At a certain point, I tried to fire books coated with clay as I believed that was the only way to keep forms of paper without turning them to ashes. Then I found a curious fact that not only a part of the book coated with clay, but also a part without, still conserves a form'. In this case the artist has fired a copy of a catalogue of an exhibition held at the V&A entitled 'The open & closed book' (1979). The original work is shrunk, the wrappers are a stark white and the pages are fused together.
''Time: the weekly newsmagazine'
Height 20 cm x width 16 cm x depth 3 cm
NAL pressmark: X930113
This work is a further example in a series of bookworks produced by Yohei Nishimura which are the result of the artist's experiments of firing objects in a kiln. In this case the artist has fired a single issue of 'Time' magazine, (vol. 137, no. 13) at extreme temperature. The original work is shrunk, the wrappers are a mixture of white and creamy yellow and the pages are fused together. Nishimura is interested in the subtle differences in colour produced by this process. 'Books when fired remain in existence and above all remain incredibly beautiful' (artist's statement).
Height 11 cm x width 13 cm
NAL pressmark: X930233
'Herd' is a simple book filled with stylised images of black and white cows painted on a strip of white paper which has been concertina-folded and pasted to form single pages. These pages are held within cover boards bound in furry, black and white imitation cow hide and the whole book is stored in a box with a similarly bound lid. Each page features a gang of blank bovine faces staring out impassively at the reader. Go with the herd. Stick out from the herd. Herded like cattle. There is no text in the book, the images are left to speak for themselves and so it is up to the reader to ponder the connotations this herd may have.
'Lijepa nasa domovina'
Height 43 cm x width 36 cm x depth 13 cm
NAL pressmark: X930043
This book was conceived in 1992 as a response to the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. The title translates as 'Our beautiful homeland' and is the national anthem of Croatia. The pages of the book, as well as its cover and box, are covered with objects that the artist found in the streets of London. These include earth, grass and straw, as well as symbols of conflict such as broken glass and barbed wire. The use of pictures photocopied from newspapers adds to the documentary feel of the work.
'River, rocks and foliage'
Height 20 cm x width 27 cm
NAL pressmarks: X911039, X930131
'River, rocks and foliage' is contained in a hand-painted square envelope and takes the form of a flexible hexagon comprised of nine triangles. Each of these triangles features an image or hand-written words on both front and back. The images are all laser-copies of illustrations featuring one or more of the title elements, whilst the text on each triangle presents statements that conjure up these elements, such as 'Splash, Ripple, Calm' and 'Solid as a rock'. Like a moebius strip, the book offers a continuous loop of information and can be folded like a child's paper toy to present varying ways of juxtaposing each triangle. This allows pictures and words to be manipulated by the reader and viewed in different sequences. The images, the text and the form of the book all suggest the way that the eponymous environmental forms overlap and intermingle with one another, simply co-existing in natural harmony.
'Sticks and stones and bricks and bones'
Height 30 cm x width 21 cm
NAL pressmark X890084
This book collects together fifteen paintings, prints and drawings of landscapes, all of which in some way use the imagery of sticks, stones, bricks or bones. One or more of these elements features on each page; sticks in a charcoal and pastel drawing entitled 'Sunlight filters through the arc of branches', sticks and stones in a pen and ink study of 'Pollarded trees and standing stones', the herring bone brick-work sketched in 'Detail of a wall in Boxgrove Priory'. The book offers a feeling of contemplation of the artist's surroundings, each image a carefully observed rendering of the shapes and textures he sees. Latticeworks of branches, pillars and brickwork; the markings on a piece of flint; the arrangement of a group of standing stones, all are captured and echoed by the marks Norris makes on the paper, be it the cross-hatching of an etching or the strokes of paint in a stencilled print. In this way the artist presents a quiet sense of order, pattern and rhythm hidden amongst the apparent disorder of the environments he depicts.
'Jasper the lion heart'
Height 37 cm x width 23 cm
NAL pressmark: X920316
'Jasper the lion heart' is a story conceived by artist Susan Johanknecht based on her son's fear of lions. In the book, this fear is turned on its head, so that Jasper is in fact a lion trapped in the body of a small boy, pondering his noble past and wondering what is to become of him. This is a folded book, its leaves joined together by means of two strips of gold-coloured adhesive tape, so that each page appears suitably regal for a lionhearted boy. The text is handset on Somerset paper and illustrated with three original collographs by Susan Johanknecht. The texture and shapes of these prints hint at the idea of a lion rather than explicitly depicting one, whilst the colour and texture of the cover boards suggest a lion's hide.
Height 34 cm in box 39 x 26 x 8 cm
NAL pressmark: X891069
Susan Johanknecht was inspired to create 'Well-heeled' when working at an exclusive shoe-shop in Covent Garden. She became fascinated by people's obsessions with shoes, and the pain and expense they would go to to own them. 'Well-heeled' is a celebration of this obsession, acknowledging that shoes can be beautiful objects as well as recognising the sense of ridiculousness that surrounds the desire for luxury footwear. The text, written by Julie O'Callaghan, narrates the thoughts of a designer shoe addict; finding the right shoes for the right occasion, choosing shoes to represent a state of mind, buying shoes as a form of therapy, wearing shoes to make a specific statement. The book takes the form of six separate folded sheets, each one printed with a black and white lithograph depicting an exotic pair of shoes. These pages are wrapped in layers of pink and white tissue paper and housed in a white box with a hinged lid, similar to a shoe box. The act of lifting out each folded sheet from this packaging mimics that of lifting out pairs of shoes, causing the reader to take on the role of shoe obsessive.
'Five meters of poems'
Height 30 cm x width 26 cm
NAL pressmarks: X890020, X890126
On the first page of this book you are invited to, 'open this book the way you would peel a fruit' and it ends with the briefest of biographies, 'I am 19 years old with a woman just like a song.' This beautifully printed book is a translation of the little known Peruvian writer, Carlos Oquendo de Amat's series of poems. It is letterpress printed on buff handmade paper in a concertina format, bound in red bookcloth. The poems themselves travel across the page in a variety of formats and type sizes, with a maturity well in advance of Oquendo's nineteen years. The woodcut illustrations are by Antonio Frasconi.
Height 16 cm x width 9 cm
NAL pressmark: X930073
This artist's book designed by A.S.C. Rower is a secret, self-contained object housed in an envelope that has been sealed inside a coating of beeswax. To read the book the wax must be sliced open, releasing 'The bee'. Inside is a sheet of Japanese Kitakata paper folded twice to create four pages, each of which holds one paragraph of text. One side of the paper is printed with April Vollmer's images of anthropomorphic bees, the other side shows a flower. When the paper is held up to the light the bees appear to have settled on the flower. The text relates the tale of a mysterious bee, with Paul Oratofsy's neat, poetic story-telling evoking the flitting of the insect from place to place, never resting for long, seemingly erratic but with a hidden sense of purpose and meaning. NAL copy is no. 18 in an edition of 100, signed by the author, artist and designer.
Height 10 cm x width 14 cm
NAL pressmark: 95.GG.30
The rhomboid shape of this book is a striking example of a structure that manipulates the way that the viewer experiences the book. 'Real lush' is over 2 inches thick and comprises 315 leaves bolted together within a stiff red cover. The positioning of the bolts and the resulting tight, angle binding was intended to help flip open the book, but also to hide a good proportion of the book in the spine. For Osborn books are about revelation and concealment. 'Real lush' is a largely visual work with perceptible sequences of images, overprinted layer upon layer. Individual elements of imagery reappear as visual refrains throughout the work. Some sequences of images depict movement: a man running from left to right, or a bird flying off the page. Although the book can be perused slowly and deliberately, page by page, its tactile structure lends itself emphatically to flipping through it at breakneck speed, the viewer experiencing a dynamic onslaught of sensory overload.
'Lost volume: a catalogue of disasters'
Height 25 cm x width 25 cm
NAL pressmark: X930121
A number of unlikely objects appear to have been pressed between the pages of this book: a bugle, a starfish, a light bulb, toy soldiers, a paint-tube that oozes a dark stain across the paper. These random items have left their imprints on the book's pages, inviting the reader to touch the apparently embossed paper, but there is nothing to feel: the objects and their imprints are trompe-l'oeil photographs. Parker crushed each item in a press between sheets of paper and then had the results photographed, inviting the reader to share her fascination with the acts of destruction and transformation. The objects are shown pre-crushed in a table of contents, but confusingly not all of the items in the contents actually appear in the book. A squashed spoon is attached to the cover by wire, like a bookmark, and has been pressed onto the book's covering boards to create a blind relief print. NAL copy is no. 10 in a special edition of 30 signed and numbered copies.
Height 27 cm x width 27 cm
NAL pressmark: X930017
In this work artist Lisa Corinne Davis uses lino-cut self-portraits to explore the notion of female African American identity. The portraits are printed in soft browns on heavily textured wheat chaff paper with neatly hand-torn edges. Nine of the twelve loose leaves have been darkly over-printed with images of women taken from the realms of art history; for example, Botticelli's Venus, a Rembrandt woman, Tenniel's Alice in Wonderland, and an aboriginal figure. Three of the leaves are over-printed with poems by Simon Perchik. As with much of Davis' work, 'Birthmark' suggests that notions of race and femaleness form ever-changing complex layers within an individual's personality and cannot be easily pinned down. The book's covering boards are made from thick corrugated card, again hand-torn and stained with ink. The whole package, designed by A.S.C. Rower, is bound together with a length of rough baling twine which adds to the overall organic feel of the work and a pervasive earthiness suggestive of womanly fecundity. NAL copy is no. 57 in an edition of 150, signed by the artist, author and designer.
Height 31 cm x width 23 cm
NAL pressmark: X890085
This collaboration between three Swiss-German artists, consists of 97 loose leaves of photocopied artwork, illustrated on one side, and for the most part arranged in random order. They include a sequence of tinted reproductions of photographs of Fritz Vogel, dating from 1987 back to 1957, the year of his birth. There is one photograph for each year, annotated with captions in German and the name of the photographer. Other photocopied illustrations are enhanced by a riot of abstract decorative designs, sketches, randomly applied shapes, and rubber stamps. The leaves are housed in a box made of toughened cardboard, the edges and spine painted black, the front cover bearing a monochrome photograph of a skinhead screaming, the back cover bearing two further photographs (including an 'Identität des Vergessen' passport stamp). NAL copy is no. 13 in an edition of 30 copies.
A Humument, Vol. 1'
Height 20 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: 95.S.44
The notes accompanying 'A Humument' explain how the work was made: 'A Victorian novel (A Human Document, by W H Mallock published in 1892) has been taken page by page and altered, adapted and metamorphosed'. Originally inspired by reading about William Burroughs' 'cut up' technique, Phillips pursued his own variant on this idea by selecting a book at random and altering it page by page. He began by scoring out unwanted words with pen and ink but soon progressed to obliterating the original text with pictorial compositions using acrylic gouache. With every page the text to be left exposed was the first thing decided upon. The 'new' texts comprise, among other things, 'poems, music scores, parodies, notes on aesthetics, autobiography, concrete texts, romance, [and] mild erotica', in an attempt to make a Gesamtkunstwerk. The pictorial compositions sometimes allude to the original text, while at other times reference the 'new' text. For Phillips, the intermingling of word and image on the painted pages resembles medieval miniatures. This edition of 'A Humument', the first of many variants, was issued in 1970 by Tetrad Press. It takes the form of ten silk-screened pages housed in a green box and makes up volume 1 in a series of ten, each volume containing varying numbers of pages. As well as numerous versions of 'A Humument', Mallock's novel has been the source for many other projects, including a pair of humument globes entitled 'Terrestrial and celestial globes' also held in the National Art Library and viewable on this database.
''Terrestrial and celestial globes'
Height 25 cm x width 24 cm
NAL pressmark: X920275, X920276
This bookwork is one of Tom Phillips' 'Humument' series of works that derive from the same source, that is, W.H. Mallock's Victorian novel 'A human document' published in 1892. Phillips alters the pages of the original source by highlighting some words and painting out others, the title of the series itself deriving from a contraction of the original title minus the painted out letters. The NAL holds numerous published versions of the 'Humument' series, including one produced by the Tetrad Press in 1970 which can also be seen in this database. This variation takes the form of a pair of humument globes, which represent celestial and terrestrial worlds entirely of Phillips' imagination. He was inspired to make them when his friend, the globemaker and restorer Sylvia Sumira, made him a globe for his fiftieth birthday. The names of the invented stars, planets, countries and islands are taken from the text of 'A Human Document'. Cut-out fragments of text have been pasted on to the surface of the globes. These have been painted over with painstaking attention to detail and minute brush strokes and depict the texture of the land, the contours of the continents and a star-filled, midnight-coloured sky.
Height 23 cm x width 23 cm
NAL pressmark X890019
''Half Off' presents a series of wittily observed stories that reveal the low-budget, everyday life of a woman working as a waitress, as Mimi Pond did when the book was written. The title, printed on the book's cover in the form of a price tag, refers to the cheap stores in which Pond shops, always searching for bargains. The book is partly bound in a pink showercap - an allusion to the cheap goods referred to in the text and to the final story in the book, 'Too Bad', in which Pond takes a bath in the hope that doing so will cause the phone to ring and bring someone interesting into her life. Colourful, comical prints bring the characters and situations of the text to life. Across the top and bottom of the pages dance pictorial borders of coffee pots, lipsticks, chocolate bars and underwear adding to the book's celebration of the frothy girlishness to be found amidst a life of daily drudgery.
''The onion as it is cooked'
Height 25 cm x width 13 cm
NAL pressmark: X920165
The bookworks produced by the Flockophobic Press are known for their eccentricity: 'We put words into bottles and boxes, onto menus, maps and oversized noodles.' The oversized noodle in question is a bookwork designed by A.S.C. Rower from a concept by Sally Schneider entitled 'The Onion as it is cooked'. The work comprises a prose poem by Steven J. Bernstein impressed, using a magnesium plate, onto a hand-rolled sheet of saffron pasta. It is accompanied by a packet of desiccant and an envelope with the instruction, 'open after consumption' printed on its flap. The envelope contains a paper copy of the poem and a letterpress colophon. The poem, on the subject of a prospective interview, is written in cryptic free verse, interspersed with lines of a dialogue taking place as an aside along the right-hand margin. The poem contains culinary references throughout and ends with a question in French, which, to all intents and purposes, appears nonsensical, 'Faire savourer vu les oignon comme cuisiner?' NAL copy is no. 16 in an edition of 100, signed by the author, 'chef' and designer.
Height 17.5 cm x width 11.5 cm
NAL pressmark: X900230
This work by Colin Sackett marked the beginning of a continuing project of work concerned with an exploration of the 'direction' of reading. 'Black Bob' comprises sixty-three double page spreads of an identical black and white image of a shepherd, a sheep-dog, a sheep and a flowing river in the background. The work is entirely visual, resembling a flip book. The sense of movement within the image (wherever it is first encountered) leads the reader to expect that there will be a development over the series of images, perhaps in the form of a picture story. This expectation is soon thwarted however as it becomes apparent through flipping back and forth that all the images are in fact the same. 'Black Bob' was made with the intention of investigating these expectations and reflexes, examining the notion of how to 'read' a book.
''The sea curry'
Height 22 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X890111
Poet, storyteller and printmaker, Bernard Salmon began publishing his own texts and illustrations in his native New Zealand in the late 1970s. 'The sea curry' is one of a series of illustrated books he produced while living in London. It tells the story of Peruni, who makes a powerful curry. The curry is continually rejected by his companions who ask him to dilute it with sea-water. The tale has an unexpected twist at the end - as do a number of his other stories. The tale is accompanied throughout by Salmon's richly coloured illustrations ('silk-screened, with great pains taken, by the B.S.') which greatly add to this charming tale. NAL copy is no. 40 of a limited edition of 100 copies signed by the artist.
''Rent-free in the East Village'
Height 19 cm x width 13 cm
NAL pressmark: X890071
This simply-made book deals with the emotive issue of the 'gentrification' of a rundown part of town, in this case New York's East Village. Schafroth documents how money is invested to regenerate a dilapidated area at the cost of those who have made it home precisely because it is cheap. Schafroth juxtaposes images of the poor and homeless in their broken-down neighbourhood with lines of text suggestive of real estate advertising speak; the dark, gloomy drawings are invaded by enthusiastic, greedy-sounding sales pitches. Taped inside the front cover of the book is a small plastic sample bag containing an old beer bottle top and a cigarette stub, at the back is a broken burnt out matchstick - souvenirs or artefacts from a place and its people swept away by 'progress'.
Height 30 cm x width 22 cm
NAL pressmark: X890025
This artist's book comprises pictures of hairpins (Nadel) arranged in a seemingly endless variety of ways to produce a kaleidoscope of different shapes and patterns on each page. Each individual composition is enhanced by the blurred elements of previous and subsequent patterns, obliquely visible through the transparent leaves. The accompanying captions in German and (occasionally) English combine with the images to create a subtle and often humourous evolution of compositions with various interpretations and meanings, all taken from one very simple every-day object. NAL copy is number 71 in an edition of 100 copies signed by the artist.
Height 29 cm x width 21 cm
NAL pressmark: X980005
Schneemann is a multidisciplinary artist and pioneer of performance and installation art, her work frequently concerning gender issues, sexuality and cultural taboos. 'Vulva's morphia' tells the ironic and amusing story of the education of Vulva, an innocent, who initially, 'reads biology and understands she is an amalgam of proteins and oxytocin hormones which govern all her desires'. Vulva's education progresses rapidly as she 'deciphers Lacan and Baudrillard' along with other patriarchal discourses, encounters anti-female graffiti, tussles with the male art establishment and finally, ever the keen student, decodes feminist constructivist semiotics to discover that, 'even her erotic sensations are constructed by patriarchal projections, impositions and conditioning.' The progress of Vulva's education is documented through means of a single line of uppercase text goose-stepping along the bottom of each page and illustrated with multifarious depictions of female genitalia, both literal and oblique, ranging from erotic primitive art to medical illustrations, all enclosed in a sumptuous binding of crushed rose velvet.
''Die Bank von England'
Height 21 cm x width 15 cm x depth 3cm
NAL pressmark: X930083
This unopenable book object by Eva Schumann-Bacia is made from part of the original manuscript of the work 'John Soane und die Bank of England 1788 bis 1833', also by the artist, which was published by Georg Olms Verlag in 1990. The original work, an architectural history of the Bank of England, was published as volume 58 of the series 'Studien zur Kunstgeschichte'. The manuscript has been painted and effectively sealed within a thick application of vermillion and yellow acrylic paint. With its large, visible brushstrokes, the work is highly tactile, its weight and shape reminiscent of a gold ingot. The book's reinforced impenetrability also draws parallels with a bank vault, a safe place perhaps for its valuable contents. Produced in a limited edition of 15 copies, signed by the author/artist underneath the coat of paint.
Height 28 cm x width 19 cm
NAL pressmark: X890022
This artist's book comprising poems and aphoristic texts by Hans-Peter Schwöbel was hand-press printed by the Schierlingspresse in Dreieich, Germany. The texts are printed in Helvetica and Futura typefaces in a variety sizes. The san-serif typefaces, experimental typographic layouts, spacing and shaped texts echo the aesthetic elements of concrete poetry. These are combined in places with elements of a more contemporary design aesthetic, including splashes of colour and oblique grid-lines forming a background pattern. Limited edition of 60 copies, signed by the author.
'Mapa ed Veneiis'
Height 28 cm x width 22 cm x depth 10 cm
NAL pressmark: X920025
A unique book art object made from an old wooden school desk. The entirety of the work is covered in numbers and letters childishly scrawled in pencil, and often semi-carved into the wood. The interior of the work also contains similar markings scored into paint or written in ink, ink drawings and diagrams, and torn, collaged pieces of paper with hand-written or typed lists of letters and numbers. The work is fragile and cumbersome to handle, and various panels, hinged doors, codices and scrolls are contained within it, often in places not immediately obvious to the eye. The work has an obsessive, talismanic quality which has resonances with outsider art. Signed and dated 27/11/90 by the artist.
'La Grande Muraille'
Height 13 cm x width unrolls to a length of 7 metres
NAL pressmark: X920093
In the tradition of the unfolding artist's book, the seemingly compact 'La Grande Muraille', once opened, gradually unfurls to a length of nearly seven metres in a structure that is highly expressive of its theme: the Great Wall of China. Due to its clever construction of one continuous leaf with various folds of different widths, when unfolded, the work can be read flat or stand up like a wall of paper. The work contains an original text by Lu Xun in Chinese, French and English, comprising facts and observations on the Great Wall. The main text is accompanied at intervals by eight original colour engravings by Shirley Sharoff, and by printed snippets of the random conversations of Chinese students. Top edged in red, the work is encased in an altuglas clip and held in a slipcase. NAL copy is no. 22 in an edition of 65 copies, signed by the artist.
Height 26 cm x width 37 cm
NAL pressmark: X901035
Book artist and teacher Keith Smith is well known for his innovative book structures. His works include many so-called 'no-picture books' including a few string books of which 'Book 91' is an example. The leaves are punched with holes and strung together with linen cords in a structure that is reminiscent of a musical instument. The book is concerned with the effect of cast light and shadow and should be viewed with a single light source at a 45 degree angle to the left of the book, three feet distant. As the pages are turned, shadows are formed and move across the page. The reader plays an essential part in the book's creation in the sense that the cast light and shadows are not part of the physical book itself, only coming into existence during the act of experiencing the book, that is, as the pages are turned. NAL copy is no. 11 in an edition of 50 copies, signed by the artist.
'Desire: the collective unconscious'
Height 15 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X900161
This small, square, red book has a textured cover reminiscent of a wicker chair seat. The title 'Desire' is printed in black ink along with a floral pattern, which is at odds with the graphic images within the piece. This is a highly visual work, a book about the senses. 'A densely beautiful maze of memories, faces and words. All the parts that make it up, the snatches of conversation, the stolen shots, an eye, an ear, a mouth, the intense saturated colour, are held in place by a grid of fencing wire. Images and text printed in colour and overlaid throughout. Published by Nexus Press, Atlanta in conjunction with Weproductions on an artist in residency scheme'. From the artists' website: www.weproductions.com
'Real fiction: an inquiry into the bookeresque'
Height 19 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X900084
This is a perfect bound paperback book which contains black and white photographic images and some text. The photographs are of buildings and rooms at various stages of completion and demolition, many showing an opposition between interiors and exteriors, and often playing on the notion of the threshold as the interface between them. As is usual in Douglas' and Stokes' books, typography is as significant as the text and imagery. 'Taking as a starting point the incongruous space and shadows made by the open pages of the book, the process of opening or 'entering' is explored as one would an unknown dwelling. This process of exploration develops into the construction of a room within the book and then leads from the core of this interior place outwards, as fusion between inside and outside. Interspersed, a constructive text hovers and casts shadows on the open pages as an active commentary and associative dialogue on the 'construction'. Published by The Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY in conjunction with Weproduction on an artist in residency scheme'. From the artists' website: www.weproductions.com
'Song of the thrush'
Height 20 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X980150
This book starts with a number of card pages, almost like a series of covers. It then consists of high contrast photographic images overlaid with text, printed on paper folded along the outside edge, so that the text and images flow in one continuous stream throughout the book. 'Song of the thrush' was conceived during Stokes' first exposure to the raw poverty on the streets of Bombay.
'I had travelled to India to be taken out of myself with nothing to lean on, no one to help, in a place I had never been to where everything was different. A great deal of what I found there had a strange familiar feel to it, which I let myself be immersed in. "Song of the thrush" develops a visual / tactile quality to express a range of feelings from humour to pathos to anger. As a prelude, a slow introduction is made through a series of images & titles that are commentaries on each other. This in turn leads to the Song where the images words and colour become an interwoven dialogue'. From the artists' website: www.weproductions.com
'Shake a speer: Assoziationen zu vier Sonetten von William Shakespeare'
Height 23 cm x width 19 cm
NAL pressmark: X890026
This book was published under the imprint of Unica T, 'a fictitious person making real books'; in fact a group of Austrian women artists who worked closely together between 1986 and 2001. Artists Ulrike Stoltz and Ute Schneider produced the work on a hand printing press, during their residency at an art fair in England, selecting for their text four sonnets by William Shakespeare. However they did not treat this greatest of English cultural icons with undue reverence: not only is his name rearranged, but the poems are interspersed with, and interrupted by, overprinting and collage, sometimes to the point of semi-illegibility, with brightly-coloured geometric shapes, and further texts, in German, taken from modern books on various aspects of mortality - a strong theme in Shakespeare's sonnet sequence. The slim volume is bound in delicate paper boards covered with tissue. Traditionalist craft values are allied to a modernist poetic sensibility of fracture, fragmentation and allusion, and to a bold and busy visual style characteristic of late 20th-century graphic design, all in the service of a timeless literary theme. NAL copy is no. 25 in an edition of 38 copies, signed by the artists.
Height 14 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X970015
Sam Taylor-Wood spent time on a film set shooting this sequence of stills of cast, crew and equipment. It is unclear whether the people we see in these photographs are acting or not, but it is possible to read the series of images as a narrative. It is also possible to create a new narrative by opening out the long concertina leaf into which the book is folded and then re-folding it in a different way. The photographs are an apparently random mix of colour and black and white images, something that increases the book's sense of fragmentation and dislocated story-telling.
'3 sequences & dessert'
Height 13 cm x width 11 cm
NAL pressmark: X890070
The 'sequences' in this book are made up of a series of found images ranging from the banal to the humorous to the disturbing. These are puzzling at first, but gradually the reader is able to impose some kind of meaning onto them. The images are juxtaposed so that each page echoes the last, either visually or symbolically. A clipping from an advert that reads 'Stretch and Dust' is followed by a picture of a cat stretched out on its back, which is followed by an aeroplane whose cross-like shape alludes to the crucified pose of the spread-eagled cat and so on. Each 'sequence' has been printed onto the back of a musical score (or 'sequence' of notes) which has been cut down to create the pages. The end section of the book is taken from an old geology text describing the characteristics of conglomerate, also known as 'pudding stone' - the dessert promised in the title.
''Collage book no. 3'
Height 11 cm x width 6.5 cm
NAL pressmark: X890061
A dazzling label from an old soda bottle pasted over boards encases this small, simply bound book full of black and white collaged images by Barbara Tetenbaum. These have been created using a range of found images including Victorian woodcut illustrations, old manuals, trade catalogues and advertisements. The jumbled imagery references history, literature, science and religion, the ancient and the modern. Each page is neatly overprinted with thin stripes of colour, adding a dynamism to the black and white of the collages. Sheets of tissue guard paper separate each printed page, reminiscent of those used to protect antique book plates, inviting the reader to treat 'Collage book no 3' as a tiny treasure. NAL copy is no. 7 in an edition of 25 copies.
'The bad dream book'
Height 21 cm x width 14 cm x depth 14 cm
NAL pressmark: X940098
Unique artist's book, which is mounted on the wheels of a child's toy car or truck. The front cover has a painted plaster hand fixed by thread and glue to the binding. The hand is holding a painted bunch of artificial roses with yellow and red flowers and a green stalk and leaves. This arresting, disturbing exterior hints at the book's contents: an interpretation of (bad) dreams. Inside, each page consists of a word, handwritten in pencil, indicating an animal, object or concept accompanied by a rubber stamped image, hand coloured in crayon, illustrating the word. Beneath each image, in rubber stamped letters, is an interpretation of the object or concept's meaning in a bad dream (examples: 'Shipwreck: loss of property' ; 'Drowning: foretells illness'). This book object is characteristic of the artist's work in its highly inventive binding and its recycling of everyday found objects as part of the creative process.
Height 8 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X930237
'Pocket book' is a visual pun on the name sometimes used in the USA for a lady's purse or handbag. The work teeters on the edge of both book and purse, not quite fulfilling either role, but representing the essence of both. The pretty, lacy, pink cover, with metal purse clasp and braided raffia carrying strap, is a charming and amusing pastiche of a lady's most precious accessory. When clipped open it reveals a surrealist scene with pop-up elements made up of sinister fairground characters in which Thomas' stated inspiration of Victorian children's movable and pop-up books is clearly evident.
Height 39 cm x width 25 cm
NAL pressmark: X901168
Exposure' is a collaged pictographic narrative created using found printed material from newspapers, magazines, leaflets, maps and plans, put together in a scrapbook-sized work. The pages, which are finished with Tilson's own artistic touches, tell the story of a round trip on an 88 London bus from Chiswick to the National Gallery to look at 'The Nativity' by Piero della Francesca, post nuclear holocaust. The artist often uses found material in his work, going through skips or pilfering materials from derelict buildings. In his publications for the Woolley Dale Press the found material used is of the graphic variety, and takes the form of elaborate collages produced by means of colour xeroxing. In 'Exposure' the collaged compilations of photographs, media headlines, trademarks and graphic signs are interwoven with narrative fragments to depict a visually riotous and intriguing urban adventure. NAL copy is edition no. 4 and is no. 20 of 75 copies.
''An alphabet book: for the instruction and amusement of good children'
Height 17 cm x width 21 cm
NAL pressmark: X890080
At first glance this alphabet book, through its use of the conventions and rhetoric of early children's books, appears delightful. On closer examination however the work soon reveals a darker sense of humour. Its contents are in fact an alphabetical compendium of American prescription drugs, legal, but in many circumstances and in the wrong hands, dangerous. (For example: 'A is for Adapin, B is for Biphetamine', etc.) The accompanying illustrations are hand-painted for extra appeal! NAL copy is no. 9 in an edition of 25 copies signed by the artist.
''The $2:00 lunch'
Height 10 cm x width 10 cm
NAL pressmark: X890063
The theme of this artist's book is simple: a weekly chronicle of inexpensive restaurant meals. Starting with 'Monday: Grilled Ham Platter', this meal is colourfully illustrated inside a black border, on the opposite page. A meal for each subsequent day of the week is similarly described in one brief line on the left and depicted on the right-hand page, ending with: 'Sunday: Closed'. Describing itself as 'a utility grade paper product', this artist's book has hand-coloured illustrations and is beautifully bound in quarter leather and handmade paper. NAL copy is no. 1 in an edition of 16 copies, numbered and signed by the artist.
Height 16 cm x width 16 cm
NAL pressmark: X920298
This artist's book contains reproductions of pastel drawings and texts by David Tremlett made during his travels world-wide. The individual compositions in the form of idiosyncratic, geometric abstractions frequently incorporate fragments of writing as an essential element of their design. The earthy colours and word fragments evoke a strong sense of place. Typographic titles or captions such as 'Rio Grande' or 'Alaska', which face some of the compositions, serve as more explicit guides to their source location and interpretation. African and aboriginal art are clear influences in many of the works. 'Restless' can be 'read' as a kind of elliptical travel diary. Mounted on the inside back cover is a photograph which possibly relates to an incident recounted by the artist that occurred in Botswana. While camping alone, Tremlett was woken early one morning by a group of guerrillas who questioned him at gunpoint and who could only be pacified by having their photographs taken.
'A cast of dice never can annul chance'
Height 39 cm x width 30 cm (in box 41 cm x 32 cm)
NAL pressmark: 95.HH.1
This book, a collaboration between the translator Neil Crawford and the artist/publisher Ian Tyson, contains a translation into English of Stéphane Mallarmé's innovative poem 'Un coup de dès jamais n'abolira le hasard' (1897). Mallarmé's poem, ostensibly about a shipwreck and which philosophises on the hazards of decision and action, famously inaugurated an investigation into the expressive possibilities of typography on the printed page. As with an earlier published version of the poem from 1914, this edition exactly follows Mallarmé's instructions as to type sizes and page layout, following new research from Mallarmé's annotated proofs. There are dramatic variations in type size, lines are often spread across double page openings and the words of the title thread independently throughout the whole poem. The work is accompanied by a series of richly coloured black aquatints by Tyson. These geometric abstracts complement the inconclusive mood of the poem, reversing its proportion of white to black, perhaps further to explore the idea of 'negative space' between significant forms. Limited edition of 40 copies, 30 of which are signed and numbered by the translator and artist. NAL copy is no. 15.
Height 36 cm x width 26 cm
NAL pressmark: X940005
This artist's book begins with the dedication: 'a note to my mother by way of correspondence' and was published on the occasion of the artist's mother's birthday. Part of Éditions Tarabuste's 'Correspondances' collection, the text comprises a poem, accompanied by silkscreened, abstract motifs in blue and black against a white background to suggest winter. The double-page folded sheets are unsewn, loosely gathered in a portfolio and held in a slipcase. NAL copy is no. 25 in an edition of 50 copies signed by the artist.
Height 21 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X940024
The title of this book is a play on the words Mehrwertsteuer (Value Added Tax) and is the picture story of a man rowing across the sea to arrive at an idea. Presented in the form of a flip book, the images, which are offset printed from hand drawn plates, have the naive quality of felt tip pen illustrations. The picture story begins on the card cover with the depiction of the protagonist possibly driving towards his disembarcation point.
Height 27 cm x width 21 cm
NAL pressmark: 804.AA.0024
'The Catalog' by Marshall Weber mimics the style of a mail order fashion catalogue by plundering the pages of real catalogues and mixing them with other found texts and images to create a series of photo-collages in colour and black and white. With its authentic page layout, order form (to purchase copies of the 'catalog' rather than the clothes) and postage frank, it almost convinces as the real thing. The pseudo fashion photographs are given an intriguing array of imaginative treatments. In some cases the clothes dissolve into the background or are replaced with more 'interesting' content, in others it is the actual models themselves who disappear into the surrounding backdrop. Elsewhere models' silhouettes are obliterated to become semi-abstract compositions. Many of the resulting images have an undeniably flippant or mocking tone which reveals, one suspects, the artist's irreverent attitude to the fashion industry. NAL copy is no. 15 in an edition of 49 copies, signed by the artist.
Height 24 cm x width 19 cm
NAL pressmark: X890152
Designed and illustrated by Debra Weier and Bill Bridgers, 'Edges' is the third work published by the Emanon Press which was founded by Weier at the University of Wisconsin in 1977. On the theme of edges, this book is illustrated with delicate etchings. Some are full page illustrations, while others give the illusion of being torn fragments of etchings stuck on to the pages. They are accompanied by poems printed in 12-point Optima on a variety of papers which have been torn and then collaged onto the support pages. The endpapers are in the form of handwritten texts explaining the theme of the book: the arbitrary divisions or edges we use to reflect on the flow of our own lives. The book form presents a perfect vehicle for representing these artificial divisions or edges: 'Western thought is steeped in divisions. The system boundary or edge is arbitrary like the division of pages are to the flow of a book'.
Height 21 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X901126
This book features three people, a civil servant, a stockbroker and a manageress. The daytime appearance and personality of each is juxtaposed against their night-time selves when each dresses for and identifies with a particular sub-culture. The brief text consists of a commentary, in their own words, on the marked contrast between their two personae. The book's intention is to show how each of them are in effect, two different people at the same time. 'Dopplegänger' was made in conjunction with an exhibition at the Lisson Gallery in London which included three works made with the individuals featuring in the book. This artist's book is part of a large printed archive of work by Stephen Willats held in the National Art Library.
''Daniil Kharms: liubovs i smerts'
Height 43 cm x width 48 cm x depth 24 cm
NAL pressmark: X940097
This extraordinary and unique book object, the title of which translates as 'Daniil Kharms: love and death', was created by the artist Sergei Yakunin in Moscow in 1991. It is based on the life and writings of Danill Kharms (1905-1942), an early Soviet-era avant-garde poet, dramatist and writer of children's books. Kharms was imprisoned during the Stalinist period, dying in captivity during the Siege of Leningrad in 1942. This bookwork is a macabre echo of experiences undergone by Kharms during his lifetime. The work, full of sculptural imagery, scrolls, and moving parts, is almost entirely made of corrugated cardboard, wood and papier mâché and is housed in a silver-painted chest. Within the chest, the main body of the work comprises a large, book-shaped structure with three compartments. The first contains pulleys and bells, the second a series of paper masks, and the third a three-dimensional moving tableau of a torture scene featuring a sculptural human face with arms attached on springs. An elaborate system of pulleys and strings attached to the face and arms can be operated to rotate the 'eyeballs' of the victim, accompanied by discordant sounds. Embellished throughout with extracts of writings by Kharms, the work also features two expressionist painted portraits of the writer.
Height 20 cm x width 14 cm
NAL pressmark: X930150
Philip Zimmermann has chosen an unsettling array of photographs depicting abstract shapes, scenes of disaster, leering faces and curiously banal objects, and digitally manipulated them to create a bewildering onslaught of imagery. On each page a single line of text slices through this maelstrom of shapes and colours. The first half of the book lists a contrary set of emotional states and physical symptoms suggestive of someone suffering under the pressures of life, before coming to the conclusion: 'Stress has you by the throat'. The second half of the book seeks answers: a series of conditional ideas to relieve stress are followed by the words 'everything would be OK' (example: You think: If I took a long vacation, everything would be OK). The repetition of these forms of expression become a soothing mantra before coming to the ultimate conclusion: 'What doesn't kill you makes you strong'. The pages of the book are skewed along alternate diagonal planes and bound in a cruciform structure so that the text reads from bottom left to top right, then from top left to bottom right and so on. Some pages have die-cut serrated edges, like sharp teeth, while other pages are designed to look serrated, adding to the overall sense of aggression and confusion.
Height 26 cm x width 20 cm
NAL pressmark: X890265
'Very food' is a recipe book written as a quirkily poetic stream of consciousness. Each recipe is embedded in a swirl of thoughts and memories in which domestic life is affectionately romanticised. In playful, pun-laden language Ziranek tells of 'edible occasions' involving simple pleasures such as car-boot sale shopping for Tupperware containers and making chick-pea dip to fill them, or cooking a meal for an old friend. The book is bound in boards covered with 1950s patterned fabric and illustrated with photographs of fifties ornaments, books, accessories and kitchen utensils taken from Ziranek's own collection and arranged by her into still lifes. For those who want to cook, rather than read, the recipes are also given in a glossary at the end.
Height 23 cm x width 15 cm
NAL pressmark: X890024
This book uses as its background a facsimile text taken from a research paper published in 1925 entitled, 'The measurement of emotional reactions: researches on the psycho-galvanic reflex' by David Wechsler. Superimposed onto this text are images of ephemeral objects, each of which is charged with meaning - a label reading 'Fragile'; old snapshots, a dead fledgling, a battered 'Old Maid' playing card juxtaposed with a cinema ticket that reads 'Admit One'. This imagery floats across the pages and forms its own narrative that can be read in isolation from the text, or can be taken in conjunction with the information that lies beneath. The interplay of text and image sets up many contrasts and oppositions: coloured pictures against black and white text; the ambiguity of the images versus precise scientific language; the haphazard placing of objects across ordered columns of typed text; the implied emotions of the apparently autobiographical imagery resting on dry, impersonal research. Through this use of symbolism, Zweig questions the validity of scientifically quantifying 'emotional reactions' in a humorous and thought-provoking way.