World Book Night – turning ‘ages installation and the books used in the work.

I was recently asked how I chose the books used in the installation ‘turning ‘ages’.

The first book had been on my bookshelf for a very long time – it was a copy of a late 19th century Baedeker Guide to Paris, and on one of the pages inside, there was a tiny sketch of a small Paris road . This little artwork inside the book started the whole creative process for ‘turning ‘ages’, because I always wonder who it was that captured that moment in time, and also why he/she felt compelled to draw that particular road in Paris.

All of the other books are either from my bookshelves at home, or have been gathered from second hand shops, I was particularly interested in books with memories that were held inside. Including a cross section of writers, I hoped most people could identify at some level with the comment the book installation was making.

Two books I chose which I strongly believed had to be represented, were the  ‘Complete Works of Shakespeare’ and also Charles Darwin’s  ‘The Origin the Species’.  Shakespeare was an excellent observer of human nature, and most of his characters could sit at any time in history ; Paradoxically Charles Darwin was a wonderful animal and species observer. ‘The Origin of Species’  forms the backbone of the whole comment in the work. I like the idea that everything has its time . The physical book has had a wonderful life, and our love affair with the pages is now in the autumn of its life, as we have all started to read using different and new electronic gadgets and media.

The glass and wooden case itself was also an important part of ‘turning ‘ages’ as it serves to preserve the books and reminds the observer of museum pieces, which is how maybe one day, the published book will be viewed- one slightly removed.

The Star Sheffield


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