William Shakespeare’s characters were often making exhibitions of themselves. Helena following Bertram to France is often read as a romantic pilgrimage in ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’… but it took a fair few plot twists to get there. Our point? The work of The Bard is always ripe for rediscovery and that’s exactly what is happening, with another one of those twists, at Central Library on William Brown Street this summer.
The grand old building is hosting the world’s only contemporary book art exhibition, ‘Shakeseare Now!’, for the 400th anniversary of the writer’s death. The exhibition will display intriguing work from all around the world and include showcase materials such as handmade paper, driftwood, pebbles, textiles, cotton, sea glass and seaweed paper. Book art printing techniques include ink-jet, letter-press, etching, wood engraving, hand-lettering and typing and the diversity of the work being showcased is exemplified by the non-traditional features (that stand out like George, Duke of Clarence’s death in ‘Richard III’), including binary code derived from a recording of an actor reading a sonnet and a book cast from glass.
Simon Ryder, founder of Liverpool Book Art, says: “The response from artists to help me mark Shakespeare’s anniversary with an exhibition has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and we are delighted with how the exhibition has shaped up. Submissions ranged from unique book sculptures to a site-specific book-related multi-media installation.” Building upon the artistry found in centuries of bookmaking, book art has created an interdisciplinary form of modern art that continues to inspire. “The idea for our first book art exhibition, back in 2014, came because not enough people knew about artists’ books and I wanted to try and expand the range and numbers of people involved,” continues Simon, who is also a former chairman of Bluecoat. “That was the first time I’d taken on the role of ‘curator’ and it was a long process: exciting, nerve-wracking and hugely enjoyable!”
A bit like ‘Shakespeare Now!’. Complemented by workshops and demonstrations of printing and book-making, as well as an upcoming performance of the brilliant ‘Sound Book Project’, the exhibition leads to a fair at the venue in July. Perfect for compare on a summer’s day.
‘Shakespeare Now!’, Liverpool Central Library, William Brown Street
Until July 31 2016
Fair: July 8, 9
Pic courtesy One Fell Swoop