Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nothing much new under the sun

I always have to remind myself that just because something is new to me, doesn't mean it hasn't been done before. (In spite of that saying, nothing new under the sun, there had to be a first time for everything so I can be gullible.) Here I was, all enthralled with the Newspaper Blackout thing which appeared so original to me (see previous post) only to stumble upon a variation of it dating back to the 1960's. I have been reading The Century of Artists' Books by Johanna Drucker, and yesterday arrived at the chapter on altered books. Above is a page from Tom Phillips A Humument, in which he transforms a Victorian novel by William H. Mallock through inking/painting out unwanted text. He soon saw that he could incorporate imagery as well and link the preserved text with the empty white spaces between type. (Click on the photo for a larger view.)

I was particularly interested in what the author had to say about this method of altering a book, because it mirrors what I was experiencing as I worked with those newspaper obituaries: "Let free of the responsibility of making a new invention the book artist is able to allow associative processes free reign, to let the work happen..." I've always had an easier time working with something other than a blank surface, so it should be no surprise that this has piqued my interest.


margaret said...

Of the thousands of copies of this novel published, Phillips (and fans) have been able to find only five remaining!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Oh Margaret, you are ever a font of esoteric information! So is this one book that shouldn't be altered?