SLG Publishers Table
From Tuesday the 26th of January this year, we took over the SLG Publishers Table for one week at the South London Gallery bookshop. We presented a curated selection of publications, including some new volumes and some samples of upcoming projects.
Our best seller of the week was as pictured, a sample booklet from an upcoming project entitled Walking Cities: London. This project is something we are working on for the Royal College of Art and will be released in January 2017.
The SLG bookshop has been collaborating with a selection of independent publishers since April 2015 to highlight the rich and diverse range of publishing today. For one week of each month, a new publisher will present a curated selection of publications on the SLG bookshop table.
Intern Magazine takes a closer look at Camberwell Press
At the tail end of last year, when the third edition of Intern Magazine was in development, Camberwell Press was visited by Hannah Sargeant and Jennifer Lo. The pair had been commissioned by Intern to produce a feature for the magazine about CP as part of their ‘Education Issue’.
Intern is a bi-annual print publication for and by the creative youth, which looks to twin a showcase of emerging artists and writers with a frank and balanced debate on internships. Dealing in a variety of perspectives, the magazine has featured the likes of Jessica Walsh, James Victore, Mike Perry, Jean Jullien, Adrian Shaughnessy in past issues. This time around, HORT’s Eike König, photographer Olivia Bee and artist Ryan Gander have contributed industry insight amongst features set all around the world and across the creative disciplines.
Having already commissioned CP’s Alice Tye to illustrate the issue’s opening essay, Intern’s editor, Alec Dudson took interest in the concept of the press and considered it an interesting angle for the issue’s education theme. With the chasm between higher education and many of the creative industries as wide as ever, projects by either side which look to combat that, were on the agenda.
CP’s current set-up consists mainly of unpaid interns, who, in exchange for two days at the press can take advantage of free studio space and access to Camberwell’s wealth of facilities. As the internship debate consistently revolves around the issue of pay, Alec wanted to see how the CP team weighed up the deal and what the future looked set to hold in that regard.
Hannah and Jennifer joined the team for a Monday morning meeting along with Director and co-founder James Edgar and studio manager Kirsten Houser. Having observed the open, collaborative approach to workflow planning, they set about interviewing the team and photographing them along with the space.
We have some exclusive photographs from the shoot here, but like all good magazines, Intern is best enjoyed in print. Issue Three is out now and can be ordered from Intern’s website here.
Alec Dudson (Intern Magazine)
In April, editor Harry Stayt met with artist Hannah Lees ahead of the opening of her group show, John, at The Sunday Painter. Since then, Lees has has been involved in group shows, Hold Sway, Generator Projects, Dundee and Adventures in Bronze, Clay & Stone, Arezzo City of Arts Festival, Italy.
“I just always feel with my work that I want as many departure points as possible, not that I want my work to be about little so that anyone can put anything on it, more so it offers up so many potential possibilities that if someone wants to see that it’s a hippy hangout, that’s fine, that’s exciting. If someone wants to see it as a craft shop that’s fine, I feel like I want to be as open as possible”
Lees discussed the themes of religion and spirituality that run through her work, along with the influences of lifestyle and literature.
Click here to download the full interview
In the Company of Flowers, 27th June 2015
On 27th June a usually closed wing of Somerset House was home to In the Company of Flowers. This wing was left victim to a recent storm along the Embankment, one that stripped all of the surrounding trees and mountains of their foliage and flora, that then fell in the wing.
Over 600 years ago, when faced with a storm, Buddhist monks would gather the fallen flowers on their pilgrimages through the mountains. They would place these flowers in containers filled with water to preserve them and present them on altars as floral offerings to Buddha. Much like the monks did six centuries ago, along with our guests we gathered the stricken flowers and debris that fell in this wing and produced what could be referred to as ‘sculptures with flowers’.
In early forms of Ikebana, one tall central stem was accompanied by two shorter ones, collectively representing heaven, man and earth. The arrangements we made were never complete; flowers and foliage were borrowed and traded from other areas and vessels within the landscape, so the sculptures followed the temporal nature of the flowers.
Alongside this we paused for a chabana, the tea ceremony that often accompanies Ikebana. A chabana aims to contrast the grandeur of the arrangements by offering the rustic simplicity of tea.
Our guests were guided by masters of flowers, tea and charcoal. When guests were satisfied that their arrangements helped them achieve their fundamental aim of peace, serenity and tranquility, they reflected on their journey in the company of the masters of charcoal. As, once written by Gaston Bachelard, ‘For all flowers speak and sing, especially those we draw and it is impossible to remain unsociable when we draw a flower.’
To close this ceremony, we enjoyed tastings of plum wine, as, once said by Yung Chunglang in regard to the enjoyment of flowers, ‘firstly they should be enjoyed with tea, secondly with conversation and thirdly with wine.
Thank you to everyone that came to In the Company of Flowers, we had a fantastic day! Please visit our events section to see photos from the day.
In the Company of Flowers
…in regard to the “enjoyment” (or shang) of flowers, it is pointed out that: enjoying them with tea is the best, enjoying them with conversation is second, and enjoying them with wine is the third.
In the Company of Flowers invites visitors to Somerset House for a day of flowers, tea, drawing and wine. Interpreting Ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging, participants are invited to inhabit a constructed landscape to create temporal flower arrangements.
Guided by Camberwell Press, guests are met with a scene in which vessels and forms inspired by natural elements sit alongside an abundance of gathered flowers and debris. Creating ‘sculptures with flowers’ the environment will converse with an art that aims to achieve serenity, tranquility and peace of mind.
Book tickets here
Join Camberwell Press
Camberwell Press is looking for recent UAL graduates for a number of unpaid design and editorial positions. Interviews will begin in August, with successful applicants starting at the Press in early October.
Join us for a drink to find out more about our work and the roles we have on offer. Find us in our studio on the first floor, opposite digital media, 5pm Monday 15th June 2015.
Student Guide to Elephant and Castle 2015
Camberwell Press is proud to announce the completion and distribution of its latest design project the Student Guide to Elephant & Castle. The guide was conceived by London College of Communication (LCC) Graphic Design and Illustration students with the aim of helping new students explore and get to know the area around Elephant & Castle.
The guide is arranged by distance from the LCC building so you can find places to eat and visit within a couple of minutes’ walk or a little bit further away, with details about the type of food available. You will also find information about places of interest in the area such as galleries, parks and food markets.
This guide is also available online on the Commonplace and Language Centre web pages.
(Left – Severine Chapelle: ‘Imperial War Museum’)
Offprint: Top / Top
Winner of Camberwell Book Prize Liam Magee’s limited edition book: Top / Top, produced by and in collaboration with Camberwell Press, will be available at this years Offprint Projects at Tate Modern which opens on Friday 22 May.
Offprint Projects is a travelling art publishing fair showcasing a wide range of media including books, zines, vinyls, posters, prints, websites, magazines and blogs, and (this year) dedicates a special space for photobooks, inviting independent photobook publishers from across the globe.
The Book Prize was set up by the Camberwell Photography department as a means to help graduates reach a new and wider audience with their work. The winner sees their design fully realised in collaboration with Camberwell Press, published, and placed in the permanent collection of the V&A library. 2013 BA Photography graduate Liam Magee was awarded the Camberwell Book Prize after much deliberation, for his double spine design:
‘The idea behind the book (Top / Top) is that it has to be void before it is seen. I designed the book to have two perforated spines, so whichever spine you tear determines what orientation you view the book in. All the images inside are ambiguous in their orientation; they are depicting everyday objects but in a way that means you can’t determine which way you are ‘meant’ to view them in. Whichever way you rotate the book it could be the ‘right’ or the ‘wrong’ way to view the images. This links back to my interest in our perception and understanding of objects.’ (Link: interview with UAL)
Offprint Projects art publishing fair is at Tate Modern (Turbine Hall) 22 – 25 May
For more information visit offprintlondon.com
(Image left: Liam Magee,‘Toptoplate,’ 2014)
‘In An Absolut World True Taste Comes Naturally’ 29th April – 5th June 2015
With Brian Bress, Marcel Broodthaers, Pavel Büchler, Tyler Coburn, Anita Di Bianco, Tim Etchells, Sonja Gerdes, Vlatka Horvat, Ann Lislegaard, Ken Lum, Masood Kamandy, Larry Sultan & Mike Mandel, Mark Manders, Josh Mannis, Kim Schoen, Carol Szymanski and Stephanie Taylor.
‘In An Absolut World True Taste Comes Naturally‘ focuses specifically on intentional forms of nonsense within the visual arts – artists who mean not to mean. Tracing a tenuous vein from the aggressive poetics and ‘anti-sense’ of Dada to the dissolution and multiplication of meaning in contemporary works, this artist-curated show places an attention on nonsense as a strategy of obfuscation and interrogation of meaning. (Press Release)
Camberwell Press have designed and published a new publication to accompany the exhibition that will be launched from 5-7pm on 4th June 2015 at Camberwell Space, Camberwell College of Arts, 45–65 Peckham Road, London, SE5 8UF.
The publication includes texts by Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Tyler Coburn, Tim Etchells, Ken Lum, Poetic Research Bureau, Kim Schoen, Carol Szymanski, Duncan Wooldridge and others, and features artworks from the exhibition. The book launch will also be a last chance to view the exhibition, which closes the following day.
This event will be preceded by a short talk in Camberwell Press with Kim Schoen, founder of LA’s Material Press and a presentation by Camberwell Press, between 4 – 5pm.
For further information visit www.arts.ac.uk/camberwell/events/camberwell-space/ or contact email@example.com
Is this the Golden Age of television?(-Part Two)
…Mad Men introduced big budgets for television shows, with budgets as large as $2-2.5 million per episode, giving them the opportunity to invest more into costume and set design, furthering the realism in the show down to the smallest details. The shows central character, Don Draper, is once again an extremely flawed character, which continues the theme of anti-heroes that has been a large part of these shows of the Golden Age. One of the biggest effects that Mad Men had was influencing trends outside of TV – following the first series of the show there was a huge trend for early 60s fashion and design. The cinematic style of the show differentiates it from other shows of the time – every shot was considered in a way that pays homage to film; Alan Taylor, a regular director of the show, has previously explained how certains shots were composed to reflect the graphic design, photography and architecture of the period. Hitchcock has also been cited by the showrunner, Matthew Weiner, as a major influence on the visual style of the show.
Breaking Bad continued to employ complex storylines and had a similarly high budget –approximately $3 million per episode. However the show featured an anti-hero as its protagonist, coming full circle back to The Sopranos in a way. Chuck Klosterman said, on the subject on the protagonist becoming the antagonist, that Breaking Bad is ‘built on the uncomfortable premise that there’s an irrefutable difference between what’s right and what’s wrong, and it’s the only one [show] where the characters have real control over how they choose to live.’ The series utilizes realism as the showrunner Vince Gilligan felt that it was important for the chemistry described in the show to be accurate and employed a chemist from the DEA to consult on the scripts. It’s much more experimental in its visual style and utilizes different styles of filming such as point-of-view shots and time lapse shots which set the show apart from many contemporary series.
Since these four shows have raised the bar for what we expect from contemporary television, and helped secure bigger budgets and bigger names for the networks, the Golden Age is in full swing. The latest advance has been shows such as True Detective and House of Cards, which are pushing the boundaries of TV even further. True Detective is marking a shift in the way serialized shows are produced as it’s made in an anthology style with the entire cast, story and setting changing each season. It also heralds a new era of television as already established Hollywood actors (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) are taking time out of blockbuster films to do the show. House of Cards has also changed the way series are produced, as it’s a Netflix original production; Netflix’s decision to release all of the episodes of each season at once is a reflection on the way that audiences are watching television today. House of Cards also attracted big Hollywood names: Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and David Fincher. Fincher has said that films don’t ‘always allow for characterizations to be that complex, or that deep, or that layered, or that you can reveal slowly and be as faceted’, and said that he was looking to work on something that was longer form for this reason. These latest series are examples of how slick television is now; the production quality is equal to film. – Alice Tye
Is this the Golden Age of television? (-Part One)
In the last few years I’ve started to think that the future of cinema is actually in television – budgets are getting bigger, scriptwriting has long since surpassed the soap operas and after-school specials of the 80s and early 90s and as a result big names in film are being drawn to the medium of TV. It could all potentially be traced back to four series that changed the way serialised narratives are perceived; the four pillars: The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men and most recently Breaking Bad.
The Sopranos brought TV much more complex story writing as well as introducing the anti-hero as a staple of the Golden Age protagonist. David Chase, the showrunner for the series, has cited Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller as influences for the writing on the show as well as citing Federico Fellinni as an important inspiration for the show’s cinematic style. Many critics have heralded The Sopranos as the most groundbreaking television show of all time and it has been praised for introducing a new portrayal of the mafia, particularly focused on the dynamics of the Italian-American family life. The show has been credited as setting a precedent that has since allowed other shows with similarly mature content to achieve mainstream recognition and showed that television could be the best way of exploring complex narratives.
The Wire continued to bring much more intricate stories and complex ideas, as well as bringing more realism to television due to the showrunner David Simon’s quest for a realistic portrayal of the Baltimore drug scene. He spent years, alongside his writing partner Ed Burns who was previously a Baltimore homicide detective and public school teacher, researching the Baltimore police department and together they used their own experiences as inspiration for the storylines. The show also features flawed protagonists although in contrast to The Sopranos The Wire portrays everyone as having both good and bad in them; the most popular characters were often the ones with the most questionable morals – McNulty the drunk adulterous cop and Omar, the shotgun-wielding gangster. Simon has used the metaphor of a visual novel to describe the series, with each episode forming a chapter in the long story arcs and multilayered narratives. There was also an emphasis on using contemporary slang in the scriptwriting for a more immersive viewing experience. Another element that The Wire introduced to television was using new settings and characters each series: the housing project, the port, the school and the newsroom –a device similar to the anthology approach the creators of True Detective are currently using… (look out for -Part Two)
‘Barbara Kruger: Early Works’ @ Skarstedt London
The Kruger retrospective (of sorts) at Starstedt gallery gives you everything you need. Everything you desire, and expect from classic Kruger is there. You know her work, everyone knows her work ‘I shop therefore I am’ etc. Seeing those familiar forms and designs, the signature red black and white , the Futura typeface, and appropriated style of advertising, all from the beginning was joyous.
Not to mention how these pieces, critiquing anti-feminist consumer capitalism etc etc., explore themes and problems that have never been more current. Somehow it does feel like sometimes we exist in a dystopian postmodern 80s art work, fully realised, (sexually) exploitative capitalism to the extreme. There has been progress in parts, but not without hindrance and regression. It’s distressing to see these works as anthropological records of culture from 30 years ago, and seeing that nothing has changed and these works never saw the completed job done.
To add to the nihilism you have these works situated in a gallery in Old Bond Street, next to all these crazy designer brands and all these horrible places of tragic bourgois doom and despair. And it isn’t as though these shoppers are going to pop in and have their minds blown and start a revolution as they’re going down the street. Skarstedt gallery is, ironically for this show, not advertised locally at all, you could walk past it and never know it’s there. The only people going to see it will be those who know. Any potential for any kind of subversion or disruption of the local environment is stifled.
So maybe you have this silent protest, which may be what the point was. A kind-of postmodern point of nihilism that despite all your protests and morality, it is hopeless and you are doomed. Sure, fine. But, I don’t think that’s how the works were imagined, and while their confrontations of power, sexuality and consumerism are still relevant, it would be better to show the work as such.
Photo Credit: Skarstedt London
Editor Alice Tye sits down with Artist/Illustrator Serena Katt to talk about her time at the RCA and her multi-award winning picture book Sunday’s Child among other things…
” ..I think what happened was: for the first year I went in with this idea of ‘I’m going to go to the RCA and come out as this really polished, commercial illustrator who’s just really sellable and I just know what I do as an
illustrator’. That just didn’t happen at all…”
Click here to download the full interview
Katt is an Illustrator whose practice is focused primarily on storytelling and narrative, and how that relates to history and the ways in which history is remembered, suppressed and distorted.
[Left: Forage Press (visual essay on the origins of blues music) 2013]
CP visit to Chelsea College of Arts’ Special Collections
Last Monday, 16th March 2015, Camberwell Press went on a field trip to the Special Collections at Chelsea College of Arts Library, particularly to see their Artists’ Book Collection.
The Artists’ Book Collection, which holds approximately 3500 publications, was established in 1970 by Clive Phillpot ‘in response to the production of books as “democratic multiples” by conceptual artists’. It is one of the oldest collections in the UK and has new acquisitions, from both local and international artists, added every year.
We were lucky enough to be able to look at books such as Thirtyfour Parking Lots by Ed Ruscha, Unholy Libel by Jake & Dinos Chapman as well as David Hammons’ The Holy Bible: Old Testament and PhotoGrids by Sol Lewitt.
The Special Collections also houses other archives such as: the Artists’ Multiples Collection and the Ephemera Collection which includes invites and Private View cards as well as clippings and reviews dating back to the 1960s and is mainly focused on British art, particularly from London-based galleries.
Chelsea College of Arts’ Special Collections are open to everyone. UAL students and staff can make an appointment or drop in on Wednesday’s at midday. Non-UAL persons can visit the archive by written application.
To find out more visit Chelsea Collections & Archives.
What is Particitype?
The creation of letterforms through means of participation and collaboration.
Last year visitors to Particitype.com were invited to send instructions on how they desired certain letters to be drawn, this was achieved using a predetermined set of tools. This experiment went beyond the process of designing a typeface, it explored themes of participation and the way in which instructions can be interpreted. This was enabled through giving up the control you have as a designer and handing it over to an audience. Ultimately Particitype is open-ended and welcomes creativity.
Yesterday Particitype was re-framed into a workshop with foundation students from Camberwell College of Art, introducing this idea to a new audience. Unlike previously having online participants the workshop was live. It operated by having three bowls each containing a set of instructions; an action, a tool and colour, and another containing letters from the alphabet. Through the combination of these three elements the participants were able to form a sentence in which they reacted to, resulting in creating their unique letterforms.
To find out more about this project visit Particitype.
By now most people have seen the news that a Dutch entrepreneur is planning to send people to Mars by 2024 to colonise the planet. At first thought this may seem like another great venture for humanity that reminds us of the famous words: ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ However, once you overcome this initial impression then a more concerning thought begins to prevail.
Professionals in science, business and astronomy are rightly criticising the project with attention being paid to its shoestring budget of £3.9m to send four people every two years to Mars to live (and die) there. However questions that don’t seem to be being asked are about the ethics behind the project. Why is it that the future of the human race is suddenly dependant on leaving earth and colonising other planets? Stephen Hawking has already stated that due to humankind’s armed aggression, the existence of humanity on earth could end, and space would provide the only insurance against this. If this is the case then simply setting up on another planet isn’t providing a solution to this particular problem. What’s to stop humanity from conducting such self-destruction on another planet?
Fear of nations obliterating the earth isn’t the only concern behind the reasoning to up and leave earth though, our inconsiderate attitude towards the environment is also a major concern to the earth’s longevity. The Mars One project gives no reason as to why a human settlement would need to be established on another planet, however the project does float around these notions of depleting resources and environmental concern being a reason for such a pursuit. With this it could be assumed that the venture to Mars is an acknowledgement from the founders of the project that the battle with climate change is lost. This couldn’t be more telling as the co-founder of Mars One, Bas Lansdrop, who founded Ampex Power, (a company committed to developing new viable methods of generating wind energy,) sold his share in the company in order to set up Mars One. The answer to our current situation cannot be to just leave earth in an instant when faced with adversity that is self-made.
The project outlines that one of the primary reasons for choosing Mars to settle on; as oppose to other planets, is the fact that there is enough sunlight on the planet to use solar panels. But to point out the obvious, there is enough sunlight to use solar panels on earth, and still enough time to rectify the damage humanity has caused. Furthermore there is gravity, water and trees that provide oxygen. The primary argument against the mission to establish a human settlement on Mars shouldn’t be concern over the financial stability of it all, but concern over our behaviour towards our own planet.
Photo Credit: Bryan Versteeg and Alamy
The South London Gallery alongside Spike Island, Bristol, are currently showing a two-part solo exhibition by French artist Isabelle Cornaro. These shows will run from the 25th January until the 5th of April 2015.
The sixth in a series of installations titled ‘Paysage avec Poussin et témoins oculaires’ is currently housed in the main space of the gallery. Beginning this series in 2008, Cornaro’s primary reference material for these installations was a collection of landscape paintings by the 17th century classical painter Nicolas Poussin. This particular installation loosely references ‘Landscape with Hercules and Cacus,’ taking from this two dimensional classical depiction, Cornaro constructs a three dimensional landscape which extends into the space inviting you to participate and experience this terrain. Using a combination of standing walls and plinths in varying dimensions she creates an initially structured, linear composition. Yet your perspective alters as you move through the space creating a fragmented crop, slowly deconstructing Cornaro’s fabricated landscape. The objects you encounter within this minimalistic installation nod to Poussin’s landscape through the organic elements. The scale of these artefacts decreases as you look into the space, in order to mimic and create an artificial notion of perspective. There are abstract relationships between these objects, the materials play a key a role in their narrative. Cornaro references the dissemblance of nature within this piece. Their precise placement creates a dialogue, speaking of the representation and artificiality of reality, persistently bringing into question the historical and cultural value of these artefacts. The viewer in this installation is unable to be passive, Cornaro slowly encourages and lures you into her construction subtly coercing you to become part of this assembled scene.
Two films accompany this installation, Figures (2011) and Premier rêve d’Oskar Fischinger (2008). These films support and continue to explore this theme of objects and their potential for symbolic and emotional value. These films have a particular grammar, using found objects imbued with cultural heritage. Cornaro shows them simply, with slow panning shots combined with fragmented moments in which she focuses on particular areas within these assembled environments.
Cornaro compels us to query the objects she places before us through her carefully constructed landscapes. Whether they be domestic, functional or decorative she encourages us to question their aesthetic and cultural value. This show is one of participation, Cornaro imparts her own perspective through the fabrication of these pieces, yet allows the spectator to attach their own viewpoint through their individual investigations.
Photo Credit: Andy Keate & Isabelle Cornaro
At first glance Overton’s work at White Cube Mason’s Yard seems to carry on the minimalist legacy of the likes of Carl Andre and Richard Serra, in her use of ordinary construction materials. Despite the planks’ large size and the way they are arranged – drastically changing the site they inhabit; they feel natural, they feel they were meant to be there or have always been there. There is no excess, no bravado or glamour or indulgence, and in a place like this that’s really refreshing.
The use of these materials (or lack of) makes it feel like it occupies a different kind of position to say a typical painting or sculpture, there doesn’t seem to be the same kind of weight that traditional art has. On the contrary, it seems to lift a space; the work is weightless, airy. It feels like her work takes noise out of a scene rather than add anything to it. You’re not simply looking at wooden planks; they feel like just a part of the environment you’re in/looking at. You’re looking at the space and the illusion of absence within the space, as a whole as well. Overton has seemingly been able to co-opt whole rooms into her artwork.
Her ‘Untitled’ (2015) piece in particular (lower ground floor), the rotating mobile planks direct the viewer’s gaze out towards the space, and the viewer becomes acutely aware of how much space there is and what shape it takes. I look at them, and end up focusing on the room; its grandeur, its flatness, and, mostly its emptiness, its silence. Her ability to completely change how one perceives an entire area, with what’s actually a quite minimal addition to it, is quite commendable.
Whilst appearing as a result of 60s minimalism, it’s seems almost more a result of 60s conceptualism. The social engagement of the Happenings is evident here in the direct confrontation and adaptation of a public place, where visitors are challenged to interact with new but strangely familiar surroundings. The challenges Overton tasks visitors – and galleries really – with should at the very least be considered healthy.
Photo Credit: George Darrell
Thanks to everyone who supported the Press at Kiosk Independent Publisher’s Fair at Peckham Pelican on 7th March. We were joined by Ditto Press, Four Corners Books, Hato Press, Studio Operative, Bronze Age Editions, Nous Vous, The Plantation Journal, Arcadia Missa and Bemojake Books. It was great to see you all and we hope you enjoyed viewing/purchasing our publications.