Sometime last year our friend Liam Clayton alerted me to an exhibition that was being prepared for 2012. So I have him to thank for this one.
'The Library of Lost Books' is an exhibition of artists' re-creations of salvaged books which have been discarded from closed libraries up and down the country. The idea appeals to me for so many different reasons. First, libraries shouldn't be closing. Second, I'm continually appalled at how easily our independent bookshops were allowed to die in the face of the double-barrelling from Amazon and Waterstones (though the latter is at least a bookshop), and third, I love old books and their bindings, foilings, nameplates, papers and embossings. I don't buy enough of them, but those that I do have are still awaiting a proper book shelving system to go on, so I can't buy any more for the time being...
Now, I don't know whether it was pure chance or a little digging about my background that brought my particular 'lost book' to me - I like to think it was breathtaking coincidence. Or magic! For I was sent 'How To Punctuate', which, if anyone knows me or has ever experienced me via social networking, will be aware of my rigidity on the correct used of grammar, punctuation and spelling, in the interests of clear and accurate communication by all.
My brief is to
1) Explore the book as an object of wonder, beauty and/or magic.
2) Make a work driven by a considered engagement with the book-as-object.
3) Make work that is technically interesting or innovative.
4) Engage with the book as an historical object.
I don't yet know what I'm going to do. I have an idea, but I've yet to think it over properly. It's not the only piece of work I've got on the agenda which is a little scary (there is more than one personal piece of work to make for a September deadline). But I feel the pressure to do justice to this beautiful, pedantic, very correct book.
I shall report back!