Posts Tagged Books

Yolunda Hickman, Acre, (2011), 64 books

Acre. Each book holds 253 A3 pages which, if laid out side by side instead of being stacked and bound, would equal the equivalent of 1/64th of an acre in surface area. The whole work is 64 books (16 192 A3 pages) divided and bound in equal fractions of the whole.  Each book is numbered on the spine, 1 through 64, and weighs 4.5 kg, totaling 288 kilograms for the pile. The scale of 1:64 is a common scale ration for die-cast models, and allows the books to be divided fractionally into halves, quarters, eighths, and so on. As the work was installed, it is close to A1 (four A3) in size which is a metric measurement compared to the imperial acre.Each book is its own space, but also part of the whole.

Acre, is a way to break down the world into more containable, manageable, understandable pieces so that it becomes a relatable physical, visual representation. Acres as a unit of measurement are only used for land and is becoming obsolete but still relatively widely understood. I wanted to see a whole acre in a single glance, without turning my head or missing a piece. An acre of land becomes folded down into a paper form, similar to the way a large road map is folded. The representation of landscape collapses into a hand held object.

I kind of joked that I can’t afford my own acre of land, so instead I’ll just make my own acre of paper. I’ll just live in books instead.


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First Pages Update

This is a little unnecessary and self-gratifying, but below are some of the drawings from the project I started at the outset of our travels.  These drawings are from the books:

Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)

The Great War for Civilisation (Robert Fisk)

Duck, Death and the Tulip (Wolf Erlbruch)

Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift)


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Just a little thing…

A very small, quick series of drawings documenting the train trips Justin and I have taken through Europe over the past 2 months based on our much-treasured-and-gazed-at Eurail Map.  These are the beginnings of something else, however at the moment I like that they so humbly depict what was the equivalent of crossing from the west coast of the USA to the east coast, and then back again.

In two months we’ve traveled approximately 8000kms through Europe, passing through 9 countries on 25 trains, staying in 14 cities.

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– Gabrielle

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An Unexpected Destination

The city of Köln was never intended as a destination when we set out on our adventure, but before long we found ourselves there.  As its train station is one of the main stops on a number of routes through Europe, we passed through it several times and were taken by the view of Köln’s massive cathedral.  Aptly named the Dom, this staggering Gothic structure (under construction for a period of 600 years) dominates (see what I did there?) the entire skyline, visible from most points in the city, and became the reason for this unexpected destination.

However, for me it was the Kolumba Museum that proved the jewel of this city.

Kolumba Museum comes with an extraordinary story.  During WWII this particular church was bombed to the ground. When residents investigated the rubble afterwards, though, they found the Madonna still standing. Thereafter she was dubbed Madonna of the Ruins. In a twist, what the bombing uncovered was the ancient ruins of a Roman house that the church had been built upon. Since, the ruins of both the Roman house and the church have been beautifully preserved as part of what has become an art museum.  Using stone of the same colour, the new museum sympathetically rises out of the ruins. On the ground floor, you can walk on platforms around what remains of both the Roman house and the Church, (cunningly but subtly lit by means of leaving gaps between some of the new bricks) with the first and second floor dedicated to housing an the Church’s collection of historical and contemporary art. Everything about this museum was unexpected and hugely satisfying; it’s one of my highlights for many, many reasons.

On show when we arrived was a restrained but fascinating exhibition on ‘thinking’.  Combining the museum’s own collection of historical religious art and artefacts with contemporary art, it hosted works from Joseph Beuys to John Cage to local Köln artists, from sound works to installation, from historical artist studies on perspective to the museum’s architect’s notes and notebooks on his thoughts on how to build this remarkable structure.  My favourite room was darkened, apart from tall, thin lit glass cases that held the Archdiocese’s reliquary.  Set back amongst these on a plinth of its own was a live feed from a library, housed in a finely furnished container in Antarctica.  This library was 10 years in the making and created by Lutz Fritsch.  The books have been chosen by selected scientists and artists.  The counterpoint of these two sets of artefacts was something quite special.

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Now, finally, I will get to the point: one of the rooms housed a collection of artist books, with an extraordinary variety of interpretations on artist books and an enviable list of names: On Kawara (be still my beating heart!), Andy Warhol, Carl Andre, Marcel Broodthaers and many more.  The photos are of the catalogue: much to Justin’s bemusement I bought this catalogue, all €35 and not insignificant weight of it, knowing full well that it’s entirely in German.  I wish I could add more at this point, something more reflective on what’s to be found in this excellent collection, but, not surprisingly, I had to post the book back to my mum not long after purchase to await future perusal.

Sorry about the length of this post, will sign off now. -Gabrielle

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The Future of the Book

Today I read a blog post by author Sam Harris titled The Future of the Book.

“Writers, artists, and public intellectuals are nearing some sort of precipice: Their audiences increasingly expect digital content to be free…Where publishing is concerned, the Internet is both midwife and executioner. It has never been easier to reach large numbers of readers, but these readers have never felt more entitled to be informed and entertained for free.”

While the article focuses largely on the financial and sales impact of the Internet on the publishing industry, it was the title that made me read it. I am intrigued that over my life time, the primary information medium of print – be it books, newspapers or magazines – has been overtaken by pixels on a screen. Digital is often cheaper to produce and more immediately accessible, but can’t be handled like a paper book.

In the past, the printed word in books has been culturally elevated to a cannon of societal truth, but as information changes so rapidly, the production time-frame of print is not longer compatible with the rate of knowledge. Books seem to be passing into decorative curiosity and a nostalgic artifact.

This is perhaps the ideal space for the artist to reclaim the book, when others turn to the digital space of blogs and Kindle. It is an opportunity to share and keep and also places this project in an interesting space: artists using the internet to birth a book.

Yolunda Hickman


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A Book of First Pages

With leaving hearth, home and country in the forefront of my mind, I’m starting a new project based on our beloved bookcase.

I will draw/trace into a book all of the first pages from all the travel or adventure or journey books my partner and I own.  Ranging from true adventure novels to ‘coming-of-age’ journeys, I’ve been fairly inclusive with the titles, and each of these books speaks to me of some sort of change or transformation.  What follows is a list of titles and a couple of explanations … and before you ask, no, I haven’t read them all.

Batting on the Bosphorus, Before the Wind

The Catcher on the Rye (because the first scene is of him running away from school), The Cave of the Cyclops (a single chapter we have (not sure why) from Homer’s Odyssey), The Colour of Heaven

Duck, Death and the Tulip

Great Expectations, The Great War for Civilisation, Gulliver’s Travels

Here Comes Another Vital Moment, The Hobbit, Homage to Catalonia

In Great Waters, It’s All About the Bike (because what better mode of transport?)

Kidnapped, Kidnapped (we have two versions)

The Last Continent, Lolita (because they meander around in the old jalopy), The Lord of the Rings

Mister Pip, Moby Dick, Monstrous Regiment, My Name Was Judas (because Jesus and his disciples were pretty good walkers), Mysteries on the High Seas

On The Road (how could this list be without it?)



Sailing Alone Around the World, Saving Fish From Drowning, The Secret Garden (because the lasting impression I had from this book was the comparisons between India and England), Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Science Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe (honestly, only because it has a cool-looking hot-air-balloon-space-ship on the front), Small Boat Sailing (because it’s another cool mode of transport), Somewhere East of Suez

The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse, Treasure Island, The Two Towers

White Teeth, The Wind in the Willows (because a sense of spring urges Mole from his hole), The Wishing Tree, Witches Abroad

– Gabrielle


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