a book with a view - a view with a book
the landscape of the book
I am interested a lot in the space within the book and how the physicality of the book can influence the space inside. How this space (the pages) stretch and compress themselves with opening and closing. How the landscape of the book is manipulated with the turning of a page.
I am going to look at three examples of the space inside, which all quite differently present a landscape that wouldn’t exist in any other form but the book.
Humphry Repton - Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire A.
A self taught landscape gardener Humphry Repton (1752-1818) produced books as a way of generating business. He would commission watercolours of clients estates with proposed alterations underneath flaps that could be revealed and covered over to display the extent of his plans. 1.
Repton's proposed landscaping for the Pavilion at Brighton: Before (above), after (below) B.
Red Book for Vinters, Kent, 1797. C.
These red books play with a before and after notion of time, which in a time before moving image has created a playful landscape that works only within the book.
Pauline Lamont-Fisher - Walking the Past D.
Next I shall look at a book by the book artist Pauline Lamont-Fisher. It’s structure is integral to the landscape it is about.
‘This artist's book documents the shape of a walk following a map found in the back of an old, discarded Health and Safety pamphlet illustrating how to get to an exhibition at HMSO in 1950. I was reflecting on how much the streets had changed in the intervening years. By printing the photographs in black and white, an impression is created of seeing the walk as it would have been seen in 1950, and therefore of seeing the future. This contrasts with other information found on the way which is grounded in the 21st century.’ 2.
The space of the book and the space of the walk are so interlinked the book takes the form of a meandering concertina. The book folds back on itself which makes an interesting correlation with Repton’s Red Books. The both present an object which is about finding and revealing as you interact with them. The shape and content of them changes as you read them. In the Red Books the landscape in the image changes as you reveal the flaps, in Pauline’s work the landscape in the structure of the walk is revealed as you interact with it.
Colin Sackett - Black Bob E.
Lastly is a book by Colin Sackett called Black Bob. An image of a shepherd with his sheep walking along a riverside is repeated endlessly through the book, each page is identical. The structure of the book and the landscape of the image play against each other.
‘This demonstration of direction, the page after page rightward movement of shepherd, dog, sheep, and the parallel flow of the river, is identical to the narrative of a book with blank stock as its subject…’ 3.
The movement through the book is controlled by the image and the image controlled by the book. The landscape of one influences the landscape of the other.
‘it doesn’t dictate a pace. That’s a curious thing about it and why I’m pleased with it. It has all sorts of paces. It’s absolutely static. I don’t know if it the front’s moving towards the back or vice-versa…’ 3.
Here the image has melded with the landscape of the book. In repeating the image it almost voids itself, as if it were a blank book. But what is important is it is a book and this repeated image creates a unique landscape to navigate through. Controlled by your movements as a reader as you interpret and interact with the space thats been created.
1. A History of the Book in 100 Books, Roderick Cave and Sara Ayad - 2014