Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Alien Invasion

Screen Printer and Book Artist Otto recently arrived at Pitfield Street on his gargantuan BMW motorbike loaded with more of his creations.

COOKFOODBOOK a collaboration with Katherina Manolessou is a great alternative food book, bearing no recipes, no information, no soft focus close ups of rows of spice piles and, most importantly, no smiling Nigellas. As with all Otto’s books, it is exquisitely made; designed, screen-printed and bound to perfection.

He also brought in one copy of his fold-out book Alien Invasion (so first one here wins). This book is mind-blowing. When closed it is unusually tall (making it a puzzle to find it a home in our presumptuously sized shelves). It opens out like a butterfly spreading its wings, exponentially doubling its size through three stages of unfolding until it rises to an unbelievable 8 times its original size. Otto often illustrates poems written by others, this case is no exception, except in this instance it is the word of God (intrigued?). It’s bold in scope and awe-inspiring stuff.

COOKFOODBOOK costs £25 and Alien Invasion costs £60. Both are available in the Bookartbookshop now.

- Jon Lander

Friday, 23 November 2012

Cycle of Violence

This Graphic Novel by Turner-Prize winning artist Grayson Perry was written and published back in 1992. Now, two decades on, it has been re-released as a deluxe hardback edition, with a new foreword by the artist.
The story is of Bradley Gaines, a professional cyclist (no relation to Wiggins!) in the year 2023 who is fighting his inner demons as a result of an abusive childhood. Cycle of Violence is a work of aggressive catharsis; It is impulsive, immediate and deeply personal. 
Grayson Perry, inspired by outsider artists such as Henry Darger, created a work that has the look and feel of Outsider Art; It is crude, but honest. In style, it pays homage to the ornate looping graphics of Aubrey Beardsley, drawing the viewer into the visual carnage with contrasting sensitivity. 
Perry describes reading it again as "a striking encounter with my younger angrier self".  But whilst it may represent a very different moment in his life, it is instantly recognisable as the work of the superstar we know today. It glitters with his trademark humour: that ability to not take himself too seriously, which is all too rare and so so valuable.

Cycle of Violence by Grayson Perry costs £16.50 and is available in the Bookartbookshop now. It is published by Atlas Press.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Two Little Books

A Lifelog of the Platform

This colourful little hand-made book by artist KD Xia is a nugget of understated fun and philosophy. It documents the life of an Underground Platform (Old Street Tube, a stone’s throw from our shop) through photographs taken at the same second each morning – 8:37:01. And so we form a picture of the life of a platform – the people that wait on it, the arrivals, the destinations...

Nestling in the centre of the book is a colour postcard of the platform, a blurred memento of a place that the artist describes as an ‘isolated dreamworld’. Xia ruminates on the meaning of this non-place with no phone signal and the act of photographing it in this digital age where virtually every facet of our life is logged on social networking websites.


We have recently acquired and restocked books by French Canadian comics group Milleputois. My favourite work is the new mini-book Couple by Pascal Girard (pictured above). Only 16 pages long, and entirely wordless, yet each little square page says so much. Each page shows a different scene, with different people, some are obviously couples in the conventional sense, whilst others are merely strangers interacting in some quiet way on the train or in the park – the little glances and shuffles that form our day, yet are totally forgotten a second later. Girard shows us the moments between moments, the tiny sparks of energy that fizzle between people silently all the time.

A Lifelog of the Platform costs just £3 and Couple costs something similar....they are both available in the bookartbookshop now.

- Jon Lander