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Time is man’s problem

July 13th, 2006 | Posted by David in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

What an amazing few days we’ve had. I’ve been writing my thesis, which is the closest we will ever have to a manifesto in the HFP. It is basically a proposal for the HFP, but in the form of an interview with a deceased printer (Eric Gill) and an essay on the American band the Danielson Famile. I wrote 5000 words in two days. When you’re hot, you’re hot. I’ll eventually print it and bind it. It’ll be out some time near Christmas, I guess. But too big for a stocking.

We’re also looking at houses to live in. This will be the place for many HFP endeavours to take off. We’ve had the most incredible interventions and provisions from God. I’m glad he’s in charge. 

And I’m constructing my screen workshop elsewhere. Who’d have thought that it would be hard to find somewhere to shoot a high velocity water cannon at some photosensitive chemicals on what is essentially a large square drumskin. It’s political correctness gone mad.

I was awarded a year’s free membership of the printmakers council for my books, which is good. I go on file in their slide library and I may get some exhibitions out of it. They once did one in the Natural History museum, which is my kind of gig.

I just got back from Madrid, travelling on my own. Those of you who have read Parideza will know that I describe a visit to the Prado to see Bosch’s works, but this as my first genuine visit to the place. It was great, especially the tapas and the bars. I also went to Paris as the journey was entirely train-based. The return journey was 32andahalf hours in length!

As I said I would, I went to the Chelsea BA degree show last night. I wanted to see if the buzz was transferring to the work. It was quite a good show. There were some especially good sculptures there, but unfortunately the whole site was ridiculously confusing. There is no way of knowing if you have been to see everything, and the endless ‘exhibition continues’ signs were wearying. They also opened too many things in one go, textiles and history and theory of art as well! Even with the big parade ground there was no focal point for gathering, I felt sorry for the students. Also the work was often paranoid, everybody seemed to be making their own ‘spaces’, rooms and partitions floating in enormous rooms. It seemed they felt no ownership of their studios, I quickly guessed they had had a lot of issues over spaces throughout the year, and the move from Manresa. My criteria for the best work swiftly became ‘those who had risen above space politics’.

I bumped into Gerard Wilson, my old head of BA sculpture. He really liked my show. He said (as a compliment) that while I had been at Chelsea my work had been horribly consistent, and if anybody was going to keep on going it would be me. I thought I was one of the least consistent, all kinds of blind alleys, and false starts. A lot of my contemporaries there were refining the same idea repeatedly (which is a perfectly fine thing to do). Tutors even tried to pressure me to narrow it down. I think they have forgotten those little fossils. Good to see him again.

Today I went to see a man called Duart at Westminster Reference Library, just behind the National Gallery. He contacted me through the Slade Degree show. They’ve asked me to put on an exhibition of sculptures and books for the length of August, which will be my first solo show. It is an ideal place for my work, it feels like my territory, which is good, because we didn’t know where my sculptures would best be placed. Although we are also looking at another opportunity in a reliable white-walled commercial gallery. I’m enjoying experimenting with locations and markets.

I’m glad to hear Duart used the tea bag on the business card from the show. Like Duart said, “well why not?” Don’t keep them, guys, they’ll never be worth anything more than a cup of tea.

Chelsea College of Art and Design on Millbank have purchased a copy of ‘nth convention’, ‘Nonconformist’, and ‘Dinocerata’ for their artists’ book collection, which is one of the finest I’ve seen. Any alumni or student there can go and look at these books. As an alumni I’m especially pleased. And I must say I was really amazed to see how quickly Chelsea has redefined itself since the move from the Manresa Road site I studied at. It has a really vibrant atmosphere, and a lot of the art I glimpsed was definitely inviting a much longer scrutiny. I will be going along to the opening of their degree show next week. And the library has a fantastic amount of art being made to exhibit in it as well. Liz Ward, who is in charge of the library took me on a tour of the new facilities and gave me lots of really helpful information. It looks like we could have more to do with Chelsea in the future, and they are keen to see what we get up to in the future, and very keen and astute collectors. It really is an amazing artist’s book collection. We really have to work out what categories our books belong in, and what collections, and Liz has already been very helpful in that respect.

Welcome to our press

June 8th, 2006 | Posted by David in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

We had the opening of the Slade degree show last night, and it was a great success. Lots of people turned out and response to my exhibit seemed good. Hello to you especially if you were there, and thank you for coming. It was an exciting but peculiar event, I didn’t really know what to feel a lot of the time, or what I should be doing. Sometimes if I saw an old friend I would pop over and chat, but if I saw a member of my class, I’d make a bee-line for them. We all felt a mixture of excitement, nerves, and sadness. It was like being the centre of attention, except people didn’t neccessarily recognise you. We had a piece of red string that linked my space to Julie Rafalski’s (she worked on the nth convention book). I saw one man flick through that book, notice the thread, and then see it become invisible as it stretched off across the room. As he did so he folded his arms and a broad satisfied smile emerged on his face. I’ll remember that.  

This morning I feel a bit low, but I’m not worried about it. It makes sense to feel a bit of loss now that our class will have to disband and get on with our lives. I hope I won’t lose touch, and often I worry that now they are not obliged to hang around with me, they will not want to. I also seem to be the boy at the boarding school who has to stay there in the holidays because his parents live in Burma, as I’ll be writing my thesis these next couple of months, but the others will be gone. But I’m getting ahead of myself, I’ve got a lot of people to show round the exhibition, and there are a lot of really great things I want to study, and lots of good times yet to be had. 

Our website is now finished, as you can see, thanks to the wonderful guys at sparks who designed it. This will make it much easier for you to order things.

The World as a Book {appendix}

June 3rd, 2006 | Posted by David in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

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All four books that will be in the Slade degree show have been bought by the UCL library, which is brilliant. It’s good to know they have gone to a good home.

Today I had a change of plan, and the table I was making to put the books on in the show turned into a sculpture. Now I need to make another table for the books. What can I say, I got carried away.

Two books sold to UCL library

May 21st, 2006 | Posted by David in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

We sold a copy of Nonconformist and Parideza to the UCL library last week. They will be in the stores until a more appropriate location than the open shelves may exist, but it is a superb place to archive the work so far and, anyone who has access to these archives can request a look at the books through ucl library services.

You can also come and see us and look at a copy over a cup of tea, and of course buy books online. We are keeping a couple of back catalogues to sell/donate to libraries to keep them together for free access. We’ll choose a local library when we settle down somewhere.

Preparations for degree show are driving me mad, I’m working 10am to 10pm every week day with only Sundays off! But I’ve now finished all books for the show. ‘Nonconformist’ and ‘Parideza’, and two new titles, ‘Dinocerata’ and ‘nth convention’ will be there for perusal and purchase. Also three wooden cabinets that are also books in a curious kind of way, entitled ‘the world as a book’, ‘grounds for reason’, and ‘fundament’. The show is open on 8th-14th June, 10am-8pm weekdays, 10am-5pm Weekends. On other news, I’m being interviewed for a Russian language newspaper! The connection? Russian people love books.

Today we stood amongst other rain soaked Londoners to watch a forty foot high wooden elephant walk through Piccadilly. It was amazing, a real giant covered in liveried puppeteers. It was better than the average parade because you were given freedom of movement to follow the elephant, indeed it was a lot like a protest march.

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Which makes it appropriate to mention our next release, Parideza, the pages of which are partly populated by prehistoric beasts, often the size of the aforementioned elephant. It is partly about a painting by Heironymous Bosch, and also about Medieval explorers Polo and Mandeville. Darwin also makes some appearance. Overall it is about our perception of the world. It comes as two hardbacked volumes and a pamphlet, that includes an etching, in a slipcase. It is gorgeous. It will be released on 4th June 2006 in time for the Slade degree shows.