Sunday, 12 June 2011
When I wrote the essay for Bertil Nilsson's book 'Undisclosed' and helped Bertil & the designer Wayne Ford (who is also a serial blogger see his blog here) I papered my entire kitchen with the images (as seen here with my cat hogging the limelight for a change) so that I could get to know them intimately & see new things in the work every day. A great image reveals itself to you slowly. My personal favourites at first glance may then change & finding specific elements of interest & connections between the works, rhythm's & themes all surface with prolonged study.
This beautiful work documents & explores the working practice of circus performers in their practice spaces. Nilsson's black & white photograph's mesmerise as the performers display deft feats of artistry, strength & agility. With close contact to them we are seduced by the poetry of the human form without the trimmings of the costumes & glamour that usually accompany them. In doing so Nilsson strips back the practice of these individuals to their bare bones & indeed muscle. The combination of their bodies entwined with the architecture of the practice spaces & interaction with their equipment creates a visual theatre all of its own.
When we arrived the book as a first draft pinned onto the wall. It soon became clear to see the flow of the book with the layout in order across the room. Any discarded images were also out for us to look through and make suggestions. Each of us lost an image we liked in the final edit, but all agreed that they did not fit into the book. This process always takes longer than one would first think, but with 3 pairs of trained eyes it was a thoroughly enjoyable day. The camera in the corner filmed this wonderful sequence, putting all our efforts into a minute long film. Having a large space to lay or pin out the work is invaluable & a lot more effective for the final book. This can be done on a computer of course - but the book is not going to be made to view on a computer - so I find it easier to get a real 'feel' for a book by moving spreads around physically, literally not on a screen. We all worked well together, agreeing on most things which made the whole process very enjoyable.
We all left the studio with a satisfied feeling of a job well done. 'Undisclosed' will be launched in August. I will post nearer the time to remind you lovely readers of its impending arrival.