Monday 26 March 2012


spent the day at nuca deconstructing the textile course and thinking about timetables which was interesting but I’m looking forward to visiting Wishbone, the latest exhibition by Sue Brinkhurst which will be held in the tower in the top of the south lookout in aldeburgh on saturday. Sue creates ghostly pieces through rubbing on cloth, they have a familiarity in that they are a map of the object and yet their physicality enables us to see the world from another perspective. it will also be interesting to see the space – the thing i love about installations and interventions is that the artist allows us to see new spaces in new lights. the exhibition continues till 09 04 12 - 11 - 2 daily.

Thursday 22 March 2012


why be a lecturer? – one of the answers is that I have access to creative voices. I have spent part of the day at nuca in the lecture theatre listening to two voices full of ideas and possibilities – the afternoon session was a chillingly provocative presentation by russel davies where I learnt that to survive in the future you need to be either the best or really like engaging in change – it was not as bad as this duality may seem but it did chime with what we as creative people do at our core. thinking about some of the issues raised – building situations that enable others to do stuff, creating platforms for expression, making new things not new ways to sell things, led me to considering how to utilise skills and the idea of the bespoke which in turn lead me back to craft and well made things for individuals – maybe there is a future.
my second visit to the lecture theatre was for an illustrated talk by Simon Cutts of Coracle which was truly bliss. seeing live projected turning pages of books from coracle press and in turn my past – reconnecting me to days in special collections at LCP and Chelsea and the Tate and the V&A was wonderful – the book/catalogue lines of thin pale blue and red – where the book stands for an equivalent for the room the work was made for was one of the pieces that informed some of my thinking around the book which turned into the fully formed holistic whole book philosophy. listening to the story behind the making and thinking was .....good. there was much referencing of the physicality of text and the book whilst holding/stroking the physical thing and always evoking the language of book – spine head tail gatefold amidst talk of times gone – of working men’s clubs and the quality of raffle tickets. I spent a lot of time trying not to be nostalgic! but it was more than that much more.
there are many things still to be done with folded paper and twine. Simon Cutts - 22 03 12

Tuesday 20 March 2012


okay a show you really must see if you are interested in poetry, art, design, printing, book binding, publishing or artists books or just good ideas well executed..
Printed in Norfolk - Coracle Publications 1989 to 2012 its on till Saturday 21 April, Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm to 5pm
it really is an excellent show with a range of Coracle publications and focuses on the period during which directors, Simon Cutts (poet, artist and editor) and Erica Van Horn (artist and writer) were making books with Norfolk printers Crome and Akers in Kings Lynn, and binder, Stuart Settle in Fakenham.
The Gallery at NUCA is a a bookspace where you can touch books in your own time.
I’m looking forward to Simon's talk - The Metaphor Books on Thursday 22 March, 6pm to 7pm in Lecture Theatre, Duke Street Building, NUCA, Norwich.

Tuesday 13 March 2012


a weekend in Paris gave me the chance to rethink and refresh some of the lectures i give in the colleges/universities i teach in. i amassed a range of new images that explore the representation of the book and textiles in paintings at the Louvre, and in sculptures at the museum of architecture’s cast gallery.
highlights of the weekend include - Resisting the Present: at the Museum of Modern Art which had a powerfully disturbing drawing by Jimenez Bayrol alongside some interesting uses of the book as a symbol of resistance, knowledge and power. downstairs a video by jimmy durham called smashing said everything you need to know about bureaucracy and health and safety – try and get to see the whole thing.
the most excellent collection of early videos at the Pompidou centre in a show of vintage videos reminded me that i once got to play with a didgi-pack reel to reel black and white video camera on foundation at the Lanchester Poly in Coventry – it seemed so hi-tech at the time.
the museum of European photography had an exhibition by the wonderfully dark William Ropp, whose images of children are particularly haunting alongside work from the Itau collection in brazil including the work of Mario Cravo Neto who created black and white images of people and animals which seem to be as one.
finally paris at night is always a winner and i recommend montparnasse tower which has a 360 view of paris and their web site has a very neat loading logo and sequence.

Sunday 4 March 2012


the Jeremy Deller show at the hayward was for me pointedly depressing, resurrecting the twin 70s icons of oppression and violence. this was most prevalent in the work about the miner turned glam wrestler, Adrian Street, recollections of the boredom of Saturday afternoons came flooding back through the grainy film. the show is quite possibly one of the most important exhibitions so far this year, hopefully promoting a model of dissent and a challenge to the conformity of todays everyday.
possibly the vehicle for this challenge might be at the ica which celebrates the exuberance of dissident voices – often with the use of cheap printing or the office photocopier in the show in numbers – serial publications by artists since 1955 or the alternative could be to lounge in the gloriously banal animations of David Shrigley, particularly the headless drummer, the queue, yes a queue to see art, was a challenge – whilst waiting i remembered a time when going to an art gallery was a minority experience, its always a challenge when the alternative is subsumed into the mainstream.
if anybody needed to see a way of doing this ‘challenging the norm thing’ they could look to Lis Rhodes who is also at the ica – she has been making radical and experimental films since the 1970s. i can remember doing some design work called hang on a minute on a new thing called a photocopier - for circles – a women’s film distribution organisation – which had some of her work in it.
meanwhile the drawing studio at nuca has been the site of experimentation and challenge – working with year 3 students on the last opportunity to really explore the possibility of otherness within their work before the push to deliver final product for the final shows.