Recently I launched a new artists’ book ‘A Parlay’ at Leeds Art Gallery. The book is the outcome of a rather longer than expected project that I began just under a year ago. I’ve written about it before on my personal blog. To sum up, the content of the book came from a series of conversations I had with individuals at Leeds Art Gallery about art, value and about their own life choices, using the sculpture ‘Atom Body Was Light,’ 1964 by the artist Liliane Lijn as a stimulus and starting point. Conversation partners for the project included a masseuse, a theoretical physicist, a solicitor and an RE teacher. Their responses were edited and distilled to create a book which is a collection of short texts and typographic visual compositions. As well as the book I designed 2 new print works, printed by the The Print Project.
At the launch event I had a bit of a light bulb moment whilst talking to the audience who came along. A few days before I had heard an episode of ‘One to One’ on radio 4 in which a Jewish woman who was a feminist but accepted a lesser role for women in her religious life interviewed an older woman about her views one the subject. She was using this older woman, an experienced lawyer and a very successful professional, as a proxy for exploring her own views. Suddenly I realised that the artwork I chose – Lijn’s sculpture – has been a bit of a proxy for my own work. Of course the work I have made for this project has a visual affinity to Lijn’s work because it has been influenced by it. However, generally speaking, I think there is some similarity between my visual use of text and interest in arguably slightly obscure or not immediately apparent subject matter and this particular object that Lijn made in the 60s. I wonder, have I been thinking about value in general? Or have I really just been wondering all along about the value of what I do?!