10 – 16 Grape Street
London, WC2H 8DY
Free and open to all
Come and join Book Works and Phillida Reid Gallery for the launch of the new book by Prem Sahib, That Fire Over There at Phillida Reid, Grape Street on 8 September.
That Fire Over There takes fire as a metaphor for ideas around queer attachment, proximity, and personal and collective transformation. It also excavates the history of a real fire which in 1981 destroyed the Hambrough Tavern – a contested site symbolic of provocation and conflict against far-right groups in Southall, west London, where Prem Sahib grew up.
Prem Sahib will also have a new solo exhibition, The Life Cycle of a Flea, opening at Phillida Reid on 6 October 2023.
Coinciding with the release of artist Deborah-Joyce Holman’s book Queen for a Day, this event is a day-long screening of Holman’s Moment 2 (2022), followed by an in-person reading by Francis Whorrall-Campbell and conversation with the artist and Imani Mason Jordan.
Queen for a Day is Holman’s debut publication, staging a conversation between two of the artist’s films, Moment and Moment 2 (2022), and the work of cinema verité they take as a primary material: Shirley Clarke’s film Portrait of Jason (1967). One ‘queen’ of this title is Jason Holliday, the Black gay male subject at the centre of Clarke’s film with whom Holman wants to act in solidarity. Finding Jason captured by the extractive gaze and exhausting line of questioning of a white female director, Holman works to reproduce his words, rather than his image, placing them as looping samples of script in the mouths of two performers, Imani Mason Jordan (Moment) and Rebecca Bellantoni (Moment and Moment 2). The loop is intended to be liberatory, a way of paying homage to Jason’s utterances via repetition, and to render them abstract and opaque, allowing the new script – included in this book as a series of textual interludes – to function as camouflage.
The new publication features newly commissioned essays by Olamiju Fajemisin, Noémi Michel and Francis Whorrall-Campbell, and an interview with Holman and curator Cédric Fauq, who all offer close analyses of both works, opening up diverse ways of understanding Holman’s aesthetic strategies and politics of representation via film history, decolonial and queer theory.
Co-published by Book Works and Luma Westbau, with the generous support from ICA London, Arts Council England and the Swiss Cultural Fund UK.
Moment was shown at the ICA as part of Image Behaviour. Moment 2 was exhibited at CFGNY at SculptureCenter, New York City (2023), schwarzescafé, Luma Westbau, Zürich (2022) and Cordova, Barcelona (2022).
Queen For A Day will be available in the ICA Bookshop.
Scene of the Myth, a major retrospective of Pierce’s work, curated by Rike Frank, has just closed at IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Read Judith Wilkinson’s review for ArtReviewhere.
Sketches of Universal History… presents an interplay of voices, legacies, friendships and influences that make up an art practice. Conceived from a period of collaboration between the artist, curator and writer Rike Frank, with publishers Book Works and The Showroom, the book contains an interview between the artist and editor, and specially-commissioned essays by Melissa Gronlund and Tom Holert, and is designed by Peter Maybury.
Following the American sociologist C. Wright Mills’ suggested practice of filing the ideas that compel you, then periodically unpacking, shuffling and spreading out the contents in search of new connections, each section of the book proposes routes through ten years of material. Facsimiles of conversations, letters, clippings and other source documents, on events that range from student protests at Kent State University in 1971to student debates on the State of British Art in 1978; the work of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin; Charles Harrison’s letters from When Attitudes Become Form, poems by Allen Ginsberg, and Lucy Lippard’s photo captions on the work of Eva Hesse, all revealing processes of research and a continual renegotiation of the terms for making art.
The material is gathered from Pierce’s ongoing and expansive exhibition projects that use archives, performance, discussions, and installation with sound and video elements. Presented as a monograph, the book draws on Pierce’s own biography as an artist, her history and ‘progress’, as well as historical and counter-cultural references, and the proximities of past artworks, that frame her work.
In 2003, Pierce began using an umbrella term, The Metropolitan Complex, to describe her art practice as articulated through multiple voices and collective inputs. Much of her work stakes a claim on the incidental or peripheral conversations and gestures that surround cultural work, as the sites of dissent and self-determination. Sketches of Universal History Compiled from Several Authors by Sarah Pierce provides a comprehensive insight into the complexities and slippages between individual drive and institutional context. An abridged chronology reflects the community of curators, students, archivists, reading groups and artists who have been direct interlocutors in Pierce’s practice.
Bookbinding and boxmaking courses starting in September
The Book Works Studio will launch two new evening classes in September. Bookbinding for Beginners runs on Monday evenings from 18 September for eight weeks, and Boxmaking for Beginners is on Wednesdays, starting 20 September for seven weeks.
For more info or to book on either course please contact Jan Burgess – firstname.lastname@example.org. or 020 7247 2536.
Book Works is a leading contemporary arts organisation with a unique role as makers and publishers of books.
Established in 1984, we are dedicated to supporting new work by emerging artists. Our projects are initiated by invitation, open submission, and through guest-curated projects. Book Works consists of a publishing and commissioning department; and a studio specialising in binding, box-making and multiples.
The Book Works Studio offers a specialist bespoke service for a range of clients, from artists, designers, galleries, and businesses. We provide binding solutions, develop prototypes and specialise in unique book artworks, boxes, and portfolios. We have an extensive archive, and offer tailored educational events, and bookbinding courses. The Studio generates income from clients and is self-sufficient.
Book Works Publishing is dedicated to supporting new work by emerging artists. Our projects are initiated by invitation, open submission, and through guest-curated projects and include publishing, a lecture and seminar programme, exhibitions, the development of an online archive, and artists’ surgeries and workshops.
Our audience is vital to our work. The process of engaging and developing our audience is initiated with our commissioning programme, and driven through all aspects of our activities, particularly our public programme of events, our workshops, artists’ surgeries and education activities, and through our interest in collaborating with other organisations and libraries. Our programme of commissions is diverse, and reflects our commitment not just to work with cultural workers from all backgrounds, but to invest in networks and programmes that engage, and develop and create new artistic voices.
Includes new projects with: Ayo Akingbade, Deborah-Joyce Holman, Bouchra Khalili, Amy Ching-Yan Lam, Samia Malik, Harun Morrison, Sofia Niazi, Teresa Hak Kyung Cha and Jimmy Robert, Prem Sahib, Derica Shields, and Cecilia Vicuña. Our current Open Submission is Arrhythmia, guest edited by Katrina Palmer, and has commissioned new work from Andrew Colarusso, Roy Claire Potter, Kawangi Njue, and Alice Walter.
By supporting Book Works you will help support artists and writers at the emerging stage of their careers through our diverse commissioning programme of open submissions, guest editorships, public events, exhibitions and publications.
Book Works is a registered charity, dedicated to advance education for the benefit of the public in the visual arts, particularly books which may be recognised as works of art in their own right.
We have a board of trustees who input their range of diverse expertise and interests into our development:
Teresa Drace-Francis (Chair)
Gerrie van Noord