Book Art

‘The Hesitant Visitor’ was created to be experienced as part of an evening of performance at Senate House Library entitled ‘Reading as Art: Turning the Pages of Victorian Psychology’. The artwork is comprised of three leaflets, which are named after one of the library’s beautiful reading rooms and a character from history that is related to Victorian Psychology. The ‘books’ are:

  • Durning-Lawrence: Francis Galton
  • Goldsmiths’: Mary Shelley
  • Palaeography: Charles Babbage
The Hesitant Visitor - All Three Books - On Display in Senate House
The Hesitant Visitor – All Three Books – On Display in Senate House

Each ‘book’ has the same appearance, with covers that feature the stone that clads Senate House’s public areas and wood on the interior that reflects the surfaces of the desks and furniture throughout the space.

The Hesitant Visitor - All Three Books - On Display in Senate House
The Hesitant Visitor – All Three Books – On Display in Senate House

Each contains a short story set in the particular reading room, which links the space with the library’s wider collection. On the back of each are references for further reading.

“The reading rooms at Senate House are incredible spaces, full of history and atmosphere – it was great to get chance to visit them let-alone make an artwork that responds to them. Researching the theme of the evening (Victorian Psychology) turned up lots of interesting connections – I hope you find the finished work as compelling to read as it was to make.”

– Chris

All three leaflets are included as part of the Ephemera Collection in the shop, which also contains the Preface from This Journey is a Book and four pages from ‘Between the Actual and Possible’.

Artworks available from the shop:

Kindle Edition – 99p

Book Becomes Book is a unique, digital artists’ book created specifically to be read on the Kindle. It is a fun and thoughtful read which takes the form of a poetic narrative that uses the features of the ebook reader to bring the story to life in an imaginative way.

Book Becomes Book - Interior Image on Kindle
Book Becomes Book – Interior Image on Kindle

The artwork was originally created as an artistic experiment, and was so popular that I made available for a wider audience.

Reader Reviews

“This is a beautiful work, playing between the possibilities of the kindle and it’s book ancestor- embracing the screen and exploring the page….”

– Amazon User Review

“Easily as beautiful as a physical book. Oddly moving and incredibly engaging narrative. Great to see someone playing with the idea of what an (e)book can be.”

– Amazon User Review

“A nice reminder on my Kindle of what art is and can do, and what we need books for.”

– Amazon User Review
Book Becomes Book - Interior Image on Kindle
Book Becomes Book – Interior Image on Kindle

Limited Stock – £15

‘The Library of Chance Encounter’ is a pocket-sized artwork which tells the story of a single meeting between two people and the influence that shared experience has. The work is comprised of a series of cards which contain a text, an image or a barcode that can be read with a smartphone. The images and barcodes link to real books (which can be read online) and collectively these create a virtual library, a library that spins out from that one chance encounter.

The artwork was commissioned by Editorial Facsimile for the exhibition ‘Small Publishing Unfair!’ – an exhibition about miniature books held at Camberwell College of Art library.

Library of Chance Encounter - Cards
Library of Chance Encounter – Cards

“My intention is to create a work that is intimate in size and pleasing to hold and engage with. This kind of one-to-one encounter with the work is important as it heightens the personal nature of the unfolding story. I’m intrigued by the potential that technology holds (especially in providing seemingly unlimited access to literature) and I love the tension created by combining virtual and physical elements because over time the work could begin to fragment, just like memory, as links become broken.”

– Chris
Library of Chance Encounter - Cards in Sleeve
Library of Chance Encounter – Cards in Sleeve

Specifications: 26 card tiles (6.5 x 6.5cm), with text, cover photo or QR code on front and wood-effect on back. The work is an edition of ten and copies are held in public and private collections.

Small Publishing Unfair! - Exhibition View
Small Publishing Unfair! – Exhibition View

Book as Remembrance: Various Book Paintings, Liu Ye

  • by

Liu Ye’s small, flat photo-realistic paintings are of books collected by the artists’ parents during China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-76). The books are often theory, text-books or works of literature – some of which (such as Nabokov’s Lolita) have political connotations.

Liu Ye - Book Paintings
Liu Ye – ‘Book Painting No. 10 Piet Mondrian Rot Gelb Blau Insel Taschenbuch 1995’, 2015. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

Although the images are very cleanly painted, some of the books are displayed upside down and often with a dark edge running along the top. On first glance this gives the impression that the canvasses were painted from badly developed photographs or slides, however in some images, such as ‘Book Painting No. 1’ (below), we can see that the line is intentional as pages stray over it. This gives the suggestion that we are looking at books neatly placed on the edge of a table. And the fact that the book is upside down to us, could suggest that we are looking at the object from above that table where it is positioned.

Read More »Book as Remembrance: Various Book Paintings, Liu Ye

In Stock – £5

‘Lives and Books’ was created for ‘An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street’ – a fascinating international project founded in response to the car bombing of a notable street in Iraq that happened on 5th March 2007.

Al-Mutanabbi Street (named after the celebrated Iraqi poet) was a street of booksellers and an intellectual hub – the intention of the project was to invite artists to create new books, to reassemble some of those lost books in a symbolic way.

Lives and Books Interior Detail
Detail of first two pages. Image © Chris Gibson.

‘Lives and Books’ is a green, A6, pamphlet-style book featuring lines of crossed out text that leave single exposed to create a poem, a poem which draws parallels between the flow of our lives and the experience of reading.

“I was intrigued to submit a book to ‘An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street’ as the idea of symbolically replacing the lost collection seemed like a thoughtful response to such a brutal act. I didn’t want the book to be overtly political, as it is impossible for me to understand the day-to-day experience of someone immersed in such conflict, so I focussed on more universal idea of reading and how each of our lives might mirror the experience of reading.”

– Chris
Lives and Books - Page Detail. Image © Chris Gibson
Lives and Books – Page Detail. Image © Chris Gibson

Specification: A6 pamphlet, 16 pages, full-colour. Unsigned, unlimited edition. 2013.

‘Daily Miracles’ was commissioned by Leeds College of Art as part of its Library Interventions series and is an artwork designed to bridge the college’s two distinct libraries. The work comprises two sets of six books (one set for each library) which together tell a simple story about the place, incorporating details about the surrounding books and features of the library itself. The books are spread across the collection (prompting the viewer to make a journey through the space) and include references to real details draw their attention to where they are – both in terms of their physical location and also within the larger institution of the library.

Daily Miracles 'The Archive and Memory' - Cover
Daily Miracles ‘The Archive and Memory’ – Cover

“Both libraries at Leeds College have a distinct flavour, so I was keen to make an artwork that linked the two. By weaving in real details about both locations, such as noises, sights and goings on, the work hopefully breaks a visitor’s routine and makes them stop to question where they are and what they are doing. I also hope that the story itself is of interest and is engaging enough to prompt the viewer to explore the collection book by book.”

– Chris

Specifications: Six A5 pamphlets. Exterior: glossy, full-colour. Interior: black text on white paper. Edition of ten, signed and numbered.

Artworks available from the shop: