Thursday, 23 May 2013

“How we saved a bunch of tattered books an turned them in to art” Susan Kruse

Books were sent out and artists recorded their working process as
part of their projects
“How we saved a bunch of tattered books and turned them in to art”
Susan Kruse – founder and curator of the Library of Lost Books

The Curators and Artist Talk on the Library of Lost Books took place yesterday. Christine Finn, one of the artists whose work is part of the Library, joined Susan Kruse, founder of the project to discuss the reworking of 50 discarded books from Birmingham Central Library. 

Susan’s talk opened with an explanation of the origins of the project, she said: “Throughout 2011, Librarians put books in bins and I took them out again. My arts practice is not traditional painting, I experiment and when I see perfectly good materials being thrown away, I find a use for them.” Susan approached Birmingham Library and was given permission to rescue and use some of the discarded books. Finding there was such a wealth of possibilities stemming from these unwanted volumes the Library of Lost Books was born. 250 artists applied to be part of this initiative and just 50 were ultimately selected to reinterpret and reinvent select books. 

Dale Askey – blogger says:
 “Old books, no matter how mouldy, battered or pointless, just never get the treatment they deserve” 

Susan has set out to create what she describes as a “thing of wonder” she highlighted the ‘magic of the L-space’ – a Terry Pratchett term for the wonderful things that can happen after interacting with books. 

Sue Platt's roughs for her  work 'Sacred Songs and Solos'

Susan described the working process and concepts behind a number of books from the collection, before Christine Finn spoke about her artistic journey with a 1914 book of modern English. 

Christine Finn answering questions after her talk

Christine's maps of the battlefields
Christine a reporter at 16, and a woman's editor at 17, left her TV newsroom after undertaking a Reuter Journalism Fellowship at Oxford University and a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology, followed by a doctorate in poetry and archaeology. She spoke of the background in journalism, interests and studies having a resonance with the book she was sent. She made the connection between the lost writers of her book and the lost soldiers of World War One. “I took the book to the World War one battlefields and walked round the sites using military maps that became influential to my work. I decided to make, not a monument, but a testament” she continued. 

Catherine Scriven, Susan Kruse and Christine Finn

Images of some of the artworks from the The Library of Lost books will be on display during the Visual Communication final show (opening June 1) The full collection will be showcased this autumn as part of the opening festival of the New Library of Birmingham.

The Library of Lost Books is Supported by Sheaffer

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