Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Flood

What is an artist's book? It's a question that is often asked in our shop, and not an easy one to answer. I usually say it is where the whole book is a work of art.

The Flood by Elizabeth Willow is the perfect example for this particular definition of an Artist's book. Without the particulars of its construction the words within would lose so much of their meaning and depth and excitement. The booklet contains a single sentence spread across 12 little pages.

The water

began to

come in

under the door

and it came in

more and

more until

it reached

so high

there was

no more air

only water.

Printed on tracing paper, each beat of the sentence rises by increments as one turns the pages, a steady pool of blue ink rises with the words, and by virtue of the translucent paper, gets thicker and thicker with colour, until with the penultimate line 'no more air' we find the words struggling to breathe at the top of page with the flood of blue paper pushing up from below.

On the last page the words 'only water' have sunk to the bottom of a completely blue page.

In this very witty and tender artist's book even the thread that binds the booklet has been thought about: it is transparent like water.

The Flood costs a criminally cheap £6 and is available in the Bookartbookshop along with other equally fabulous titles by Willow such as the sister publication 'In the Event of Flooding', 'Making Time' and 'Sky Blue and Lightning'.

- Jon Lander

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