On Sunday November 4, 2007, the Library of the Van Abbemuseum opens the exhibition Certain Trees, an anthology of artists books, poems and objects, put together by the artist and publisher of artists books Simon Cutts.
The presentation shows the development of the English and Scottish artists books from 1964-2006. In this period, artists and poets researched the possibilities of the concrete poetry, the relation between poem and object, hand printed books, word-images and projects in public space. Traditionally they presented their work and that of others in their own exhibition spaces and through the so called Small Publishers Press, an alliance of small alternative publishers. Beautiful examples are to be seen from Tarasque Magazine and the Coracle Press as well as from Ian Hamilton Finlay and his Wild Hawthorn Press. The exhibition furthermore includes works of artists and poets like David Bellingham, Simon Cutts, Stuart Mills, Thomas & Laurie Clark and many others.
One of the binding factors for the artist in this presentation is their interest in the interaction between object and language. But also their love for nature as a subject and the ready made. Found texts, words and objects are treated in such a way that they are fully being transformed into something new. Very often landscape is used as a theme, like the title of the exhibition tells us.
The most striking characteristic of this group of artists and poets is their attention to language. Concrete poetry plays with language on several levels, as a typographic research it can influence the meaning of words by affecting or strengthening them. Language can also have a strategic role when used with the intention of humour, poetry and beauty. It can also be used as a pure means of expression if one investigates the reach of representing matter via language.
This exhibition was curated by Simon Cutts and co-curated for the Van Abbemuseum by Diana Franssen, head of library and curator. The exhibition was first shown in the Centre des livres d’ artistes in Saint Yrieix-la-Perche France and will travel to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
A rich illustrated publication accompanies this exhibition:
Certain Trees The Constructed Book, Poem and Object 1964-2006, with texts by Simon Cutts, John Bevis and Harry Gilonis.
Bibliography, 173 p. ill. in colour. ISBN. 2-9512638-5-6. €18,-