Staff and alumni from Bradford School of Arts & Media have combined with two fellow artists from the University of the West of England to exhibit their unique artists’ books at the Book Project International in Marseille. Other contributors at the event, held on 15th and 16th October, hail from Australia, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Spain and the USA. The weekend involves seminars and workshops as well as exhibitions.
The visit demonstrates the continued professional links maintained by former MA Printmaking graduates Janet Allsebrook, Barbara Greene, Prue Dixon, Caro Blount-Shah and Veronica Russell with staff members Manya Donaque, Helen Wood, Simon Ford and Robert Galetta, and the international dimension of their own artistic practice.
Janet, whose stylish jewellery features in the forthcoming BeDazzled 2011 exhibition at the Yorkshire Craft Centre, said “I am taking a selection of books produced by former MA students and staff under the group heading of Superstudio GB. We will be in excellent company and over 7,000 visitors are expected over the two days, from all around the world.” Lecturer Manya Donaque acknowledged Janet’s efforts and said, “'Superstudio' was curated and organised by Janet who invited staff and ex-students to take part in this exciting adventure, along with two invited guests from Bristol; Sue Bovington and Mavina Baker.”
The books reflect the diversity of interests currently engaging the artists. A flavour of this can be gleaned from five of the artists’ comments about their work.
Prue Dixon revealed “On Uncouth Wingscharts a journey of the human fascination with flight from Daedulus and Icarus to the pioneers of heavier-than-air flight in the 19th century (that is winged flight rather than lighter-than-air balloons).” My photographs of the book were taken at the site of our own flying attempts overlooking Shibden Valley, as seen in the book.”
Barbara Greene advised “River Walking Star Gazing is a part of a series of work made about a favourite local walk by the River Aire. The plants reflect the seasons as we walk this way frequently, and the stars are those that might be seen at the same time of year as the plants are in flower. The translucent paper means that the book can be read both forwards and backwards in time. The whole is intended to give a small flavour of the magic of place and the enormity of the galaxy.”
Manya Donaque noted “Better times is an artist's book inspired by a visit to The Jewish Museum's walls in Berlin. This visit was particularly special to me. I interpreted the walls as people and the marks left in the concrete as metaphorical of both physical and emotional traumas of events that took place. I intended Better Times to be a reminder of how things / events can be avoided and at the same time a lesson to be learnt. Ideally the book should be displayed upright to represent the museum’s walls.”
Helen Wood described her Collections From My Sketchbookas "screen printed but retains a kind of sketchbook feel, made up of notes and drawings of miscellaneous collections. It is based on objects viewed in the Dream of Fluxus exhibition at The Baltic in 2009.”
Caro Blount-Shah said “Tarn, Lake Lough is a book of fourteen embossed plates, using digital print and cyanotype, and includes a poem by Munaver Shah. It explores some of 364 walks to the 'many vessels of water' around UK and Ireland, made by Munaver Shah and myself since 2006.”