Magazine article Art Monthly

Summer Round-Up

Magazine article Art Monthly

Summer Round-Up

Article excerpt

Jyll Bradley, Mr Roscoe's Garden, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, 240pp, col illus, hb, 24.95 [pounds sterling], 978 1 8463116 6 6.

Victoria Halford and Steve Beard, Czar 52 Crash, Piece of Paper Press, 2008, 16pp, illus, pb, edition of 150 copies, distributed free by post (

Susan Hiller, Auras: homage to Marcel Duchamp/levitations: homage to Yves Klein, Institute of Contemporary Arts: Book Works, London, 2008, 160pp, col illus, pb, edition of 1000, 12.00 [pounds sterling], 978 1 9060120 7 6.

Franz Kafka, Blumfeld, an Elderly Batchelor, images by David Musgrave, Four Corners Books, London, 2008, 86pp illus, hb, 9.95 [pounds sterling], 978 0 9545025 6 0.

Simon Lewandowski, 100 things with handles, Wild Pansy Press, Leeds, 2008, 118pp, col illus, hb, edition of 1000 copies, 17.50 [pounds sterling], 978 1 9006872 6 3.

Richard Forster / Michael Bracewell, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, 2008, 55pp, illus, hb, edition of 1000 copies, 10.00 [pounds sterling], 978 0 9553489 3 8.

Bram Stoker, Dracula, illustrated by James Pyman, Four Corners Books, London, 2008, 492pp, illus, hb, 13.95 [pounds sterling], 978 0 9545025 7 7.

This round-up covers a range of artists' approaches to the book, and, for that matter, to their own work. They range from the artist providing images to accompany a pre-existing text to books where the artist has provided the text and has had control over their final appearance.

For the Four Corners series, 'Familiars', Elinor Jansz invites an artist to illustrate a fictional work of particular meaning to them, and thus we get to read the book through their eyes. David Musgrave chose Kafka and provides a series of pencil drawings of curious objects and fragments with runic and biomorphic valency. They are as mysterious and enigmatic as Kafka's strange novella, here set in Kafka's favourite typeface, Walbaum. The eponymous Blumfeld discovers two blue and white bouncing balls in his sixth-floor room: is this his projection of his two dysfunctional assistants at Herr Ottomar's linen factory? The end covers of this volume have Burenesque blue and white stripes, with a ball cut out from the pattern and turned to be at an angle. Dracula, 1897, is the choice of James Pyman. Designer John Morgan has typeset its chapters in a different typeface for each narrator--Van Hesling in Akzidenz Grotesk (released in 1896), newspaper extracts in Century Expanded etc. Pyman's illustrations provide quotidian, almost suburban landscapes and still-lives, and only our knowledge of the terror of the plot undermines and resonates under their outward appearances: it is as if we are reassured that Dracula is doomed when he loses his clothes brush in the scuffle in Piccadilly -- no self-respecting vampire, who rests in a coffin of earth, can be without one.

Susan Hiller published one of the classic artists' books of the 1970s, Rough Sea, 1976, a series of anonymous postcards of rough seas where the turn of the page echoes the crash and retreat of the waves. It is always interesting to see how she returns to the book format for a particular project. Her double homage to Marcel Duchamp and Yves Klein abut each other tete-bete. Duchamp's fauvist Portrait of Dr. R. Dumouchel, 1910 (Arensberg Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art), which has the medical student's hands surrounded by a halo, inspires Hiller's collection of auras from amateur photographs on the internet, and its list of URLs at the end is a sort of bookish index. …

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