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In search of equilibrium 2017

This artist book had its genesis in the confluence of a work on paper from my honours exhibition and the title of this year’s abbe conference - fold. The work on Japanese rice paper was a monoprint taken from the floor of the studio, where dry pigment and water had been applied. The long sheet of paper (approx. 3 metres long) was placed on top of the activated pigment and I then slowly moved along it, passing over the paper with my hands and knees to make the print. Once dry, I momigamied the paper - this Japanese rice paper lends itself to this process of continued scrunching and opening - transforming into a soft, fabric-like object, crisscrossed with delicate creases. The paper was placed scrunched up against the wall and a large ice cube with red (sanguine) ink was placed at the top. I left the work to melt overnight, unobserved and undisturbed.


By morning, the ice had melted and the red ink had flowed down through the paper and out across the floor, leaving the paper like a discarded bandage, with the ‘blood’ tracing a path across the floor down to the drain. For the two weeks of the honours exhibition, the work was not touched, the pattern and flow of the red ink on the paper was partially hidden, only to be revealed when the paper was slowly opened out to its full length.


This paperwork has always had the suggestion of a single page of a book for me. In a linear manner, the marks of the pigment, the ink and the creases all tell a story of my interaction with material and their transformative processes with each other. The subtle beauty of the tonal red ink on the paper was formed entirely through the property of gravity, the fluid properties of the ink and melting ice and the absorption property of the paper disrupted by the folds.


Upon hearing the title of the abbe conference – fold -  this work was an obvious choice for me to develop. For the final resolution of the book, I incorporated a Perspex box I recognising that the clean lines and minimalist feel of it fitted the work acutely. The transparency of the box allows it to almost disappear and houses the paper, clearly visible in eloquent folds. 


At a personal level, the work speaks of the ontological properties of the momigamied rice paper, the ink and the pigment mono print, initiated through my agency and transformed through the action of water, ice melt, gravity, environment and the aleatoric. On a larger, conceptual level, the book references Arctic ice melt and glacial formations (the text references glaciers in Svalbard grounding the work for myself in a sense of place). Each time it is opened or closed, the single page moves and spreads across the table, never resting in the same manifestation twice as it expands and contracts, its form directly affected by the actions of the viewer. This speaks of the ever-moving ice and the somewhat elusive Equilibrium Line, a glacial term for the line between the accumulation zone (where more snow accumulates and grows the glacier) and the ablation zone (where ice melts and the glacier shrinks).


As Tim Mosely reflects on Deleuze & Guattari's concept of smooth space[1] when referencing Momigami and artist Michele Skelton's 2013 artist book 'Wave Form':  "the production of Momigami is a "movement towards smooth space, a de-territorialisation of the government of materials.""[2]


This links directly to my research into the active incorporation of the aleatoric into a process and a study of material ontology, by pushing and combining these materials beyond their normal states and allowing them to act one upon the other, I endeavour to realise open and unlimited results formed through the government of the material properties themselves.


The resultant work, initially titled “in search of the equilibrium line” has been refined to “In search of equilibrium.”


[1] Deleuze, Gilles, and Guattari, Felix. A Thousand Plateaus. London, Continuum, 2013, pp552-553 

 "it is in principle infinite, open, and unlimited in every direction ... it does not assign fixed and mobile elements but rather distributes a continuous variation."

[2] Mosely, Tim. The material folio. Within Artist's Book Yearbook 2016 - 2017, Bristol, Impact Press, 2017, p. 17.

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