Wednesday, 30 April 2008



in Valletta string was used to create volume, essentially from line. since the installation in Malta I have been thinking about making, I have been drawing and making models of potential pieces. the spark was working within the education programme in leeds at the exhibition from book to book. having the space to think cemented together many strands. the ideas have been brought together in this series of bookworks, ideas such as chaos and order, revelation, 'nature' v man-made, the potential of building spaces and considering the space of a book the books. this is a return to the object and the start of a summer of making

Friday, 18 April 2008


Two highlights of the trip to Leeds were an old favourite and a new find. The new ‘find’, pointed out by Chris, was at the back of the MA Fine Art Studio Block - the gravestone of Pablo Fanque. Pablo Fanque became Britain’s first black circus owner. He was born William Darby in Norwich in 1796 but his notoriety was cemented by being mentioned on the Beatles track Being for the benefit of Mr Kite. Leeds appears to be a vibrant town but outside the Henry Moor institute there is a moment of stillness with one of Joseph Beuys 7000 oaks. I have been watching this tree grow on my numerous visits to Leeds and like to contemplate Beuys life and practice.

from book to book

Invited by the shows curators John McDowall and Chris Taylor I’ve been working at Leeds Art Gallery running one to one artists surgeries around the exhibition From Book to Book, specifically looking at assessing appropriate materials, format and binding. The surgeries were very positive with some wonderful discussions; the forecast for the production of bookworks is good. There was a well-attended soiree on wed night in the space with much talking and reading. I’m showing the bookwork knowledge transfer in From Book to Book and it was good to discuss the work and get some positive feedback.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

display cabinet at NSAD

In the centre of Fedora, that grey stone metropolis, stands a metal building with a crystal globe in every room. Looking into each globe, you see a blue city, the model of a different Fedora. These are the forms the city could have taken if, for one reason or another, it had not become what we see today. In every age someone, looking at Fedora as it was, imagined a way of making it the ideal city, but while he constructed his miniature model, Fedora was already no longer the same as before, and what had been until yesterday a possible future became only a toy in a glass globe.
Invisible Cities, Cities & Desire 4
Italo Calvino

thought tools - working towards the space between – making expectations transparent

the model occupies a transitory space within the creative process - the material manifestation of an idea, laden with potential yet not fully formed.

this physical thinking enables a tangible exploration of the language of book; the ordering of space in time, sequence and the idea of the ephemeral.

the forms have content embedded within them from their conception, later the hand and brain engage to create narrative through manipulation.

les bicknell

Sunday, 13 April 2008

latest work

bringing together ideas

Wednesday, 9 April 2008


1996 PERSONAL STATEMENT Notes and Fragments: The documentation of the development of an idea Books: Public or Private objects? WRITTEN STATEMENT written statement INTERVIEWED IN THE BOOK ART STUDIO WRITTEN STATEMENT STATEMENT Written Statement A METAMORPHOSIS AN ADVENTURE INTO BOOKARTS 1997 FRAGMENTS – PROCESS – SENSORY IMPRESSIONS - JOURNEY WITH UNPREDICTABLE END - An Unprecedented Event Language as Art, Typography as Language On Medieval Manuscripts ABOUT BOOK ARTS SEQUENTIAL ART or (The invention that is Art) MA BOOK ARTS A Projection. A theory Book arts, Architecture, Space, Place, Paper and me Mid-century Disjunction: the Fate of Early Modern Typography and the Evolution of Artists’ Books As Traced In the Work of Johanna Drucker books as visual form for communication 1998 Memories of my food in the 1970’s, 1980’s ESSAY: ART AND ECOLOGY Low Culture, High Art DOCUMENTING THE CITY Time Not At Home: in search of green ornaments – a collected narrative Halfway to Inevitability The Booked Block 1999 Judging A Book by it’s Cover: Questions of Legitimisation, Aesthetics, and Audience. A Catalogue Essay. MA Book Arts ROCK & ROLL an archive - Found Words – The use of found words and objects in Book Art Trivial Tales About Nothing At All STRUCTURE GIVER OF LIFE about rituals and metaphors, about domestic and the feminine in life and art. Aspects of Exhibitions and Collections UNDERGROUND Thinking about reading The narrative of London 2000 Silent Books Towards Process as the work and Reading as the practice Natural Mystic & Book Personal Experience and the Book Outcome IF YOU WOULD LIVE HERE YOU WOULD BE HOME NOW (Space is everywhere open…We are in this place) NARRATIVE AND CONCRETE SYSTEMS IN BOOK ARTS; through the book structure and content The book: a psychosocial metaphor SQUASHED FROG CULTURE JAMMING; Its relation To My Work As A Book Artist War, Art, and the artist as the recorder of History. Are the contemporary pop-up books really that much better than the Victorian ones? MA Dissertation Book Arts 2000 THE TRIAL AND CHANGE AS AN ARTISTIC FORM OF BOOK 2001 Approaches To Depicting Space Books as Objects A comment on repeat through artists books and multiples, form and process. Time and the Artist INTRODUCTION TO DOMESTIC PHILOSOPHY ABOUT ART, AUDIENCE AND THERAPY on coming to book arts Knock! Knock! Bang! Bang! Public Space: Room for Authority or Art? The influence of psychological theories on changes in representations of childhood in art since the Romantic era ‘Focusing on Studio Practice’ Alice in Wonderland Opening the Text: The Book as a Hypertextual Object An investigation into the Context of My Studio Practice Evaluating House and Home The True Nature of Conservation: Are Conservation Ethics Commensurate with Contemporary Art Practice? 2002 An Investigation into the “Disappearance of the Book” The gap The efficacy of the diary format in artists’ book. Between Author and Reader exploring the notion of the writerly and readerly within the work of Susan King and Lygia Clark Savouring the recipe book The library of unpublished books: From fiction to reality Visceral Passage: Reading the Book as Body In/Outside Space: The shifting boundary between private and public…how it structures our homes Un Coup de Des: Musique Meditation on a Musigram Book as Box : Box as Book ELUSIVE/ALLUSIVE: Book Arts and the Undermining of ‘Truth’ and ‘Reality’ , A comparison of, and investigation into, Michael Landy’s break Down (2001) and Susan Hiller’s After the Freud Museum (1995), with reference to the role of research within artistic practice as compared to academic models. 2003 The Precious and the Processed: What are the implications for the status of the art object and the integrity of the artistic vision within the medium of artist publishing? Man, Earth and Presence: Self-awareness in Floor-like Piece of Work The System of (Book) Art Description of Life a Users Manual The Visible Word Concrete Poetry and Book Arts Art, Therapy and the Artist’s Book: Inspiration from Eva Hesse and Lygia Clark 2004 How could language shape the future? The Narratives of the Cabinet of Curiosities in 16th & 17th century Europe and Contemporary Book Artist Practice To receive or not to receive: choice, the gift, and art. The Surveillance of Everyday Life: Appropriating City Space/Book Space The book as a space within contemporary curating CLOTHES ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND Cultural shift in relationship to the significance of objects, as seen in British collections from the sixteenth century to the present day, with particular reference to the Enlightenment Exhibition at the British Museum, the Soane Museum and the Saatchi Collection. The Visual Power of Language Language Play/Word Play The Erotic and the Innocent: The role of the child/adolescent as seen through the role of Hans Bellmer and Dorothea Tanning What is the role of a visual style and media in the development of the content of a visual book? Magic Lantern How the Viennese painter Gustav Klimt appropriated motifs from the Archaic Greek Art period in his paintings and in what way this engagement might have affected his formation as a mature artist in his career? RELATING TO DISEASE: The Narrative Origins of Medical Artists’ Books
How do the books of Susan Hiller and Joseph Cornell differ in their presentation and revelation of an inner, emotional journey? In relation to my own explorations of an empty three dimensional book space, how effectively have Rachel Whiteread and Johnathan Callan articulated negative space and to what extent in terms of the book? This is me, this is you: Ubiquity of self How do Joseph Cornell and the collaborative artists cris cheek and Kirsten Lavers (T.N.W.K.) use systems of objects to give a sense of implied narrative? 2005 An artists’ search for sense of self, time and place, reflected back through the Mother’s Gaze Memory as a vehicle for self-exploration, or a gateway for others?
Revisiting the Sublime Through Mariele Neudecker and Alison Wilding Exploration of inner and outer spaces in book: Through analyzing works of Richard Long and artist books of Telfer Stroke and Helen Douglas and Michael Snow’s, Cover to cover and Real Fiction, I will examine the ways of depicting spaces within book structure and spaces in nature. When Craft Is Applied Into Book Art Through the exhibition Body Worlds I will examine the relationship between art and science and the issue of consent in display of the human body within didactic institutions Is the Use of Photography in Documentation of Ephemeral Art Inherently Contradictory? What Role Does Freedom play in the work of Joseph Beuys? Read me, Seymour! Considering Book Art worthy of analysis as ‘text’. The influence of the “Duesseldorfer Schule” of Bernd and Hilla Becher ass seen in the works of their former students Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff and Andreas Gursky. Art imitating life, Life imitating art The presence of mental anxiety in the artwork of the displaced Portraying the Stories: Paula Rego and Illya Kabakov’s visual-storytelling practices in art context THE ART OF NOTATION: THE MUSIC DRAWINGS OF TOM PHILLIPS 2006 Extended Artist’s Statement: Shaping the Gathered Parts ON COLLAGE Visual Approaches of Reading sound and Listening image THE WAY OF TELLING A FAMILY AS A ROUTE FOR SEEKING AN IDENTITY Visual Sequences : speeds of reading The Container of Fixed Truths The Embodied experience of space: Michael Snow’s Cover to cover Words of Comfort The Book As A Fashion Item Alter-ed books. Alter-ed narrative? Two Famous Artists compared and an Emerged One takes her position. The Journey in Book Arts This paper is an examination of my own practise, compared and contrasted to “The Sleepers” by Sophie Calle and Martin Newth’s “8 Hours” I intend to explore the ideas of voyeurism in my work and where my practice stands in relation to book arts. 2007 FUTURISTS The roots of the controversies Where the Art Lies Feeling the book: The book in the digital era The promotion of the moral and social development of the child through fairy tales A Study on presenting the words on paper structure The assumption of casualness and the discovery of intensity Absence/Presence MUSICAL SYNAESTHESIA How Have Ideas Of Fiction, Theatre and Literature Influenced Ilya Kabakov’s Installations; ’10 Characters’, and ‘The Artist’s Despair, of the Conspiracy Of The Untalented’? How Do These Ideas Relate To His Thoughts On ‘Total Installation’ and What Effect Do His Concepts and Techniques Have On My Own Artistic Practice? Deconstruction/Construction HOME 2008 Touching as reading – When does touch make a reader become the content of a book?- The book as a Document – Personal Statement and the audience Exploring the notion of documenting in Artists’ books and locating their audience by portraying and critically analyzing ‘Autobiography’ and ‘Break Down Inventory’, works by Sol Lewitt and Michael Landy respectively. History and foresight of public libraries in UK Shaping issues of personal verus global feminist issues through evocative memories within the context of book arts and particularly in consideration of book structure. Existence of Book and Book Art Semiotic Guerrilla War Hunting Rabbit What is the difference between a book and an artist’s book? What I pay special regards in creating my project? Migration The Aspects of Narration-Narrative relationships with the object. Through comparing and contrasting three artists’ books: String Book, Mirror Book and Killing Book; this essay examins the physical structure and materiality of books in order to articulate a non-verbal sensational language, which is highly concerned in my book art practice.