In Another Land 2021
Mixed media altered book size variable dimensions (H15cmxL20cmxW26cm)
In the dark corners and crevices of a house there lies hidden treasures untouched for many years.
When my sister and I were cleaning out my mother’s house we found some old books – fiction books written in German. Some words are still recognisable, but I lost this language in early childhood. I don’t speak, write or read German.
My research is to turn some of these books into altered artists books. This method is part of my creative practice but I aim to extend this by randomly isolating words from the pages, translating them into English, creating them into poetry and images. Hopefully this research will connect my brain to a language I have lost and open up other possibilities in my art making.
The artists book or altered book embodies the idea of containment where many images, words and ideas are contained in a small space which becomes personal, private as well as tactile. It is a crevice in itself which can be made to look mysterious as well as presenting a community of ideas.
In the altered book, the use of existing text is integral to the visual work where text is image and image is text allowing the artist to work in a poetic way as well as exploring the materiality of the object. The use of images, text and ideas can be experimental narrative not necessarily having a sequence but an interplay of content and form where the pages don’t need to be viewed in order.
Finally, the altered book embodies the idea of a journal or journey – a record of developing ideas and research over time. One cannot get to the destination without the journey and with creative arts practice this is particularly so.
Bärbel Ullrich has a PhD in Philosophy through Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga campus. Her doctorate consists of 70% studio-based research practice and 30% exegesis. The research is land-based and site-specific to her property at the base of Mount Bogong in Tawonga, NE Victoria. The focus is on an area where two creeks meet, a possible sacred site.
Provenance: Peer reviewed submission