Books & Sculpture: Prof. Stephen Bann and William Allen
- Henry Moore Institute
- Wednesday, 14 November 2018
- Discussion with Prof. Stephen Bann and William Allen in the Institute's Research Library, starting at 6pm
There is a fascinating relationship between books and sculpture, as material objects and vehicles of communication. Turned in the hand and appreciated in slow time, books can often share the same phenomenological properties as sculpture and invite similarly personal engagement.
In a digital age where our attention might be directed more to the screen than the shelf, this new series of conversations, staged in our Research Library, openly invites artists and writers to share their fascination with objects and words, whether highlighting a book's design or formal qualities, discussing the impact and inspiration of its arguments or reconsidering the ways artists have used books in their work. Attention will be given as much to artists' books, limited editions and our special collections, as to the growing secondary literature on sculpture, past and present.
Our first conversation, on Wednesday 14 November at 6pm, will be between Prof. Stephen Bann (University of Bristol) and William Allen (independent book dealer and curator). This exchange is an opportunity for Bann and Allen to share their passion for concrete poetry through our Research Library's collections, including the work of Augusto de Campos (b. 1931), Ken Cox (1927-68), Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) and Form 4 (edited by Philip Steadman and Bann and featuring Brighton Festival (1967) which Bann curated): a significant British magazine of the 1960s concentrating on pure abstraction and through this, art theory, avant-garde magazines etc. At this time Bann also edited the first international anthology of concrete poetry (Concrete Poetry: an international anthology, London Magazine Editions, 1967), notable for being published two months before the now fabled publication An Anthology of Concrete Poetry (Something Else Press, 1967) edited by Emmett Williams.
Stephen Bann's research ranges broadly over issues relating to the representations of history and the dissemination of print images, with a special emphasis on France in the nineteenth century. His work has been widely influential in both these areas, and since 2000 he has held visiting fellowships and appointments at some of most prominent Research Institutes in Europe and America. Since 2008, he has also served as a guest curator for major exhibitions at the National Gallery, London, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon. Having published throughout his career as a critic and historian of modern art, he continues to be active in writing on the work of a number of contemporary artists.
William Allen's company, William Allen Word & Image, specialises in the works of Ian Hamilton Finlay and Dom Sylvester Houédard (1924-92), as well as having long-standing interests in European and South American avant-gardes, concrete poetry, conceptual art, artists' books and small press archives. Allen has also curated exhibitions nationally and internationally including Text + Context, Espacio El Dorado, Bogotá (2017), Linguaviagem: A Poesia Concreta Dialogue, Actual Size, Los Angeles (2016), and Ken Cox: Poetry Machines at CHELSEA Space, London (2015).
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