Archive for the ‘book arts’ Category

erdinger and shrdlu

June 12, 2020

Only anecdotal evidence exists of Erdinger’s oeuvre. It suggests that Erdinger – a mononymous concrete poet – was obsessed by his own name to the exclusion of all else. Driven by a desire to communicate something that was ‘unsayable’, Erdinger’s life was blighted by the fact that no one understood him or his work – and he remains to this day – a sound poet who’s work is clouded in obscurity. It seems that although he is mentioned in key papers, he never committed his work to print. He even seems to have chosen his collaborators purely in order to remain obscure, working with the equally enigmatic Etaoin Shrdlu, who’s sound poems appear as early as 1894(!), but who – as with Erdinger – seems to have left no great record of her art. Their collaborative piece still remains one of the great lost works of the concrete/sound poetry movement. Recently discovered behind a radiator in the Lyrik Kabinett, Munich, the pamphlet that you are holding, is based on a ‘bootleg’ chap-book of a performance Erdinger gave in 1964. It was clearly produced by an unknown admirer without Erdinger’s permission as an exhaustive search of the catalogue has found no further printed matter. There is, however, one incomplete audio recording, in which we hear the interviewer refer to Erdinger ‘speaking with a charming Liverpool accent’, unfortunately the tape is corrupted before the man himself begins his performance. Those who attended the Klang Farben Text event in Munich may have been lucky enough to have heard Chris McCabe perform two of the pieces. The first time they have been heard in over 50 years. We hope the rediscovery of this small example of his singular voice brings you as much pleasure as it brings us.

 

Etaoin Shrdlu. A name shrouded in mystery. Her work appears as early as 1894, and the last recorded instance in print is in 1976. A sound poet, who pre-dates the Futurist and Dadaist vanguards who are to this day considered the pioneers of the movement, her work only ever appeared as almost ‘interventionist’ statements in contemporary newspapers. Always credited to her by name, but never put in any other context, and dropped into the existing text matter seemingly at random, they could, and would be, overlooked for a century and a half. There is a known, but lost collaboration with Erdinger, and third-hand anecdotal evidence of a conversation between the two where Shrdlu spoke about the codes that underpinned her seemingly random sound poetry. We cannot even be sure how these statements were trans-lated, whether the printed versions are Shrdlu’s own, or transcripts by audience members… And what was her relationship with the elusive Erdinger? Mentor? Mother? Lover? An accidental coming together of two artists’ who sat outside of convention their entire lives? It cannot be an accident that these two impossible figures came to know each other. There must be some greater link than a random connection within an infinite universe. We can assume that Shrdlu must have been an active sound poet until her final years, that she must have died a centenarian, and that Erdinger who was first active in the 60s, was a much younger man. They are impossible figures to reconcile within the context of their art. What do the texts mean? What are the coded messages? Did Erdinger know the truth? Why do the first and last poems – some 80 years apart – start with that powerful connection of the ampersand? A character that implies a close connection between two parts. But all we have is that singular ‘t’. Alone. Unknown. Unknowing.

manifest 55

June 12, 2020

Barrie’s collaboration for Klang Farben Text was with the german writer, playwright and radio play director, FALKNER.

FALKNER sees her work, in whatever medium, as manifestos, so after discussing their project ideas, FALKNER wrote MANIFEST 55 for the event, and on the first day they worked out a typographic narrative in the format of a concertina book as a record their work together.

A film of a small mock-up of the book was played during their Klang Farben Text performance with the final concertina book to be made as a small edition that could be given to each of the contributors, as well as the British Council, National Poetry Library London and the Lyrik Kabinett.

However. The whole event took place about a week before social distancing laws came into effect, and, as a result of the current global pandemic and lock-down, the book currently exists as a series of unglued pages sitting in the Book Arts’ Space at the University of Lincoln. Quietly waiting for the world to turn again and ‘normal’ service to be resumed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the lyrik kabinett

June 11, 2020

In early March – Chris McCabe, the Head Librarian at the Poetry Library in London, invited Barrie to Munich to take part in an international visual poetry event called ‘Klang Farben Text‘. The collaborative event, which paired up six British Poets and six German poets, was held in the absolutely wonderful Lyrik Kabinett – a poetry library and exhibition/performance space which is truly magical.

Set back from the street, in its own courtyard space, the Kabinett is one of curiosity and absolute delights.

As well as a formal library of poetry books (Its collection of 20,000 volumes is being expanded systematically) the display cabinets are full of artists’ books and objects.

Once the world turns and things are normal again – if you are in Munich, make a special trip to the Lyrik Kabinett. Once the world turns and things are normal again, if you are not in Munich, then make a special trip to Munich to make a special trip to the Lyrik Kabinett…

Josua Reichert’s Letterpress prints on the wall of the reception area.

This has nothing to do with the Lyrik Kabinett or the Klang Farben Text Festival, but round the corner was the most wonderful shop selling artists’ pigments and brushes.

book fairs in paradise

June 11, 2020

So. February turned out nice – and busy.

In January, Iain Morrison at the Fruitmarket Gallery had asked Barrie if he’d like to exhibit the entire 100 cantos of The Divine Comedy as part of their annual book fair (which of course he did, and it also turned out to be the final push he needed to complete the entire project).

So, he spent a fair amount of time in his studio with very old sheets of Letraset (that’s a whole other story) and then had a frantic week packaging the entire show up ready to go to Edinburgh (in between that teaching lark of course).

This was probably the weekend before the world turned, and, of course, Barrie didn’t get to go and take part in the book fair, or see his own show.

He’d been away in Munich as part of an international poetry festival earlier that week (true) and couldn’t get up to Edinburgh in time. And of course, we’ve all been in lockdown ever since, so he missed out on it all. Doomed to forever be in the boarding lounge of the good ship Zeitgeist.

Caseroom Press collaborators, Alan Mason and Ken Cockburn were there of course (here’s Alan describing the one that got away).

And Barrie was eventually there (rather aptly) in spirit, for the Fruitmarket Gallery’s first online event.

Iain and Barrie spoke about the work and read selections from Dante’s Inferno using the prints as their Virgil-like guide. Guests were invited to grab their own editions or translations of the text and join in, or just log-in on the night and listen as they descended into the circles of hell. Iain might even invite him back to walk up the mountain of Purgatory together.

Initially scheduled to finish at the end of March, the show has far extended it’s run, and is still on, playing to an empty house every day. Barrie takes great pride in thinking that it is one of those rarest of things – an exhibition that has been extended by unpopular demand.

paradise is divine

June 11, 2020

One of the things about waiting for ages to get round to posting things on the Caseroom Blog is that events have a way of carrying on regardless.

Which is why we can’t get new photographs of the some of the things that we’re posting. They’re all locked-up in lock-down.

So – here are some (teeny tiny) pictures of the three artists’ books that are The Typographic Dante.

And a close-up of the laser-etched cover to Paradise, the final book of the trilogy.

Long term Caseroom fans will know that Barrie has been working on this project for quite a while – about 31 years. He never was one for a deadline.

Over the last few years, it’s travelled as a work in Progress to Dublin (with the complete set of Inferno prints), London (the complete set of Inferno and Purgatory prints), the NCCD and finally, it’s got to Edinburgh – which was the impetus that Barrie needed to complete all 100 illustrations including the 33 images for Paradise.

The illustrations for Inferno are all created using Letterpress, the illustrations for Purgatory use Typewriters and Paradise uses Letraset. Poor.Old.Tired.Letraset.

 

Once the black and white artwork has been created, the illustrations are printed on the Risographs with Gold ink.

It’s been a long time. Probably could have gone a bit quicker.

caseroom wares

November 26, 2019

 

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The Caseroom were pleased to be in attendance a couple of weeks ago at the annual Small Publishers Fair at Conway Hall, London. It was an opportunity for Barrie’s Dante books to be showcased – even though they are a work in progress – they received positive feedback with several collectors keen to purchase.

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Philippa, with collaborator Tamar Maclellan launched two new editions – Kept and Feast, both part of a trilogy that explores found objects within domestic gardens. This project has been a year in the making, and will shortly be showcased in Bristol at The University of West England.

Conway Hall also has Barrie’s favourite piece of advice for living.

off the shelf – sheffield

October 15, 2019

Philippa and Barrie were reunited at the first Sheffield Artists’ Book Fair the other week.

They had new work from Philippa, Barrie and Janzte (pictured) on display and caught up with some old friends and ex-students.

The venue was an old Co-Op department store – Castle House – which brought back memories of their days teaching Graphic Design at Thomas Parker House.

talking dante in sleaford

October 13, 2019

Barrie was talking about his Typographic Dante Project in Sleaford yesterday – the show is on its last day today, so rush to the NCCD if you’d still like to catch it – or if you’re in London, selected work from the series is still on display at the Members Lounge in the South Bank Centre.

It’s also the last chance to catch a wonderful exhibition of Artists’ Books from the University of Lincoln – the results of Jantze Holmes’ book arts workshops with various courses from the College of Arts.