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re/membering touch This catalogue documents four series of artists books produced by

Tim Mosely


from the deep: Block Books by Tim Mosely George Petelin, Griffith University, June 2014

and the justifiably marginal written notes that

production required only simple equipment—

the tradition of the book, the nature of the

accompanied them, it is likely that neither

“a block of wood and a knife”—and apparently

print, and the haptic experience of these.

pictures nor words are any more, nor less,

were enormously successful; reportedly, “they

self-sufficient than each other. Ivins also fails to

were sold in their thousands on pilgrimages, at

Assyrian cuneiform impressed in clay tablets—

address the problem of why pictorial printing

church doors and at fairs”.5 These early prints

employed relief, just as classical carving into

in the Oriental cultures, which preceded its

made possible the multiplication of religious

stone tablets subsequently did. However, half

introduction in Europe by several centuries,

pictures. In an essentially oral culture centred

a millennium passed before someone applied

did not precipitate an industrial revolution.

on religious life, they enabled the images

ink onto that relief in order to make a print.

Walter Ong answers such an implication by

depicted on church columns, portals, and

The emergence of pictorial relief prints, rather

attributing the major effect to a combination

windows to be taken home as a souvenir of

than that of moveable type, was judged by

of technologies, and asserting that “what

pilgrimage.

William Ivins Jr., founding curator of prints at

is distinctive of modern science is the

the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to have been

conjuncture of exact observation and exact

prints in Europe were playing cards, satirical

the greatest advance in civilisation since the

verbalisation”.4

pamphlets, and portrayals of saints commonly

Tim Mosely’s works address three issues:

Curiously, the earliest form of book—that of

invention of writing itself.1

However, to view this technology purely in

Among the earliest uses of pictorial

believed to protect one from misfortune. These

terms of scientific advance is to miss much of

purely pictorial forms were quickly followed

advance is the print’s exact reproducibility.

its social impact; as with ‘new’ technologies

by ones that combined simple text with

In answer to Ivins’s thesis, print historian

in the present era, printing was mainly put in

illustration—such as calendars and children’s

Elizabeth Eisenstein, while conceding that

the service of entertaining the masses. This

alphabets—and that were bound into block

“The fact that identical images, maps and

relied on reproducibility but not necessarily

books. As the inability of block books to

diagrams could be viewed simultaneously

on exact accuracy. The use of pictorial prints

easily produce large volumes of text was

by scattered readers constituted a kind of

and their binding into books emerged in

equally matched by the typesetter’s difficulty

communications revolution in itself ...”, chides

Europe around 1418, about three-quarters of

in reproducing pictures, these continued to

him in “underrating the significance of the

a century before the invention of typography.

coexist alongside typographic texts for about

text”2 and cites the fact that Leonardo’s

As Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin

half a century. In their own time, block books,

anatomical studies did not “set the study

note, “The earliest example of xylography, or

unlike the precious products of scriptoria, and

of anatomy on a new course” as evidence

woodcut printing, known to us are pulls taken

of indeed the early printing press, were the

against “pictorial statements as sufficient

on paper of designs intended for cloth: they

forerunners of egalitarian mass culture.6 Their

in themselves”.3 Although Eisenstein can

appeared only a short time after paper had

scarcity today is due to their huge public’s

be accused of ignoring both the secretive

come into common use in Europe, that is,

neglect in failing to preserve them. According

unpublished nature of Leonardo’s studies

about 70 years before the printed book.” Their

to Febvre and Martin, “Most of those which

What Ivins considers the essence of this


survive have done so because they were

smooth and the striated can be understood

their fifteenth-century ancestors, these books

inserted in the bindings of books or in the

in terms of movement: ‘striated’ travel is

are made for consumption.

lining of chests.”7 Tim Mosely’s artists books,

planned linear movement from point A to

Moreover, the form of consumption that

although each unique rather than a mass-

point B, while ‘smooth’ space involves a

Mosely encourages challenges our established

produced item, are heir to this tradition.

meandering movement. Rather than being

reading habits: pages can fold out instead of

focused on a destination, smooth travel is

in, provide surprising juxtapositions through

This also contributes to our experience of

more about the journey. Deleuze and Guattari

alternating in size, invite crumpling, searching

the book. Feeling an embossed surface,

refer to movement in such smooth space as

for folds, and the discovery of cryptic textual

differentiating between the binding and the

‘nomadic’— influenced by local forces rather

messages. We are constantly made to ask:

firm texture of the cover, opening the flyleaf,

than by conceptual maps. “The sea”, they

is this a map of a metaphorical sea, or the

and finally turning the pages; feeling their

write, “is perhaps principal among smooth

sea itself?

flex, smoothing the page down, plucking

spaces, the hydraulic model par excellence”.8

Intrinsic to relief printing is its tactile nature.

the next page with careful fingertips—all this

In many ways, Mosely’s prints resemble a

contributes to our pleasure and understanding

sea—a smooth but also turbulent space that

of what a book is. We do not want to crease

requires intuitive navigation. The traditions of

the valued book. We shudder at the folded-

the print and the conventions of the book,

down bookmarked corner. We scan the

however, provide striated landmarks—a map

Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations

surface and remember imperfections as we

of expectations that the reader must reconcile

in Early-Modern Europe: Volumes I and II (Cambridge:

look for where we last stopped reading.

with what they encounter on their journey.

Mosely’s art plays with all of this. Moreover,

Each of Mosely’s works is a unique artists

his prints capture the uncarved surface of his

book with idiosyncratic variations, exploiting

woodcut medium and use it to fuel flights of

contingent conditions and even errors, as

fancy, philosophical reflection, and political

befits a smooth space. But, unlike a unique

expression. Impressing the intrinsic grain of

precious artwork destined for a museum

timber ply rather than carved images, Mosely

case, these books must be handled. In this

prints books that transport us on a journey

way, Mosely contradicts the fixity of exact

over surfaces.

repeatable pictorial statements attributed to

Drawing on the metaphor of “smooth and

1.

William Mills Ivins, Prints and Visual Communication (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1969), 3.

2.

Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of

Cambridge University Press, 1997), 53. 3.

Ibid., 269.

4.

Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy, The Technologizing of the Word (London; New York: Routledge, 2002), 44.

5.

Ibid., 46.

6.

Chandra Mukerji, “Mass Culture and the Modern WorldSystem,” Theory and Society 8, no. 2 (1979): 245–68.

7.

Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin, The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450–1800 (London: Verso

the print by authors such as Ivins, Eisenstein,

Editions, 1984), 48.

striated space” theorised by Gilles Deleuze

and Ong as well as the preciousness of fine

and Félix Guattari, Mosely pits the planned

art, and recovers an embodied experience of

Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Minneapolis: University of

against the unexpected on this journey. The

fluidity more associated with oral culture. Like

Minnesota Press, 1983), 387.

8.

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus:


re/membering touch artist statement

Touch, the most complex of our senses, can be passive or active. Our touch of books is primarily passive,

The relief prints that fill their pages were made from twenty sheets of salvaged luan plywood. Luan ply is manufactured from rainforest

facilitating visual reading. Within the emerging

timbers often illegally and unethically logged

field of haptic aesthetics, this passive act is

within the Asia-Pacific rim. These sheets of

termed ‘tactile touch’ and is performed by the

plywood allowed me to restore an intimate

hand in service of the visual and aural senses.

haptic touch with the rainforest (the bush) and

In counterpoint to this, the ‘haptic touch’ is

I made over 2,000 prints from them in making

active. As the quintessential relational sense,1

these books. While abstraction permeates this

it moves over, across, and around surfaces,

anthology, I also gathered into the books visual

getting to know them intimately. In this

and textual quotes on touch. These are taken

anthology of artists books I have employed the

from a number of sources, including my own

haptic touch to convey content that the eye

work, Dreaming of Mt Giluwe.3

cannot sense. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari assert that

Gathered into the codex form, these books position the haptic touch of books by artists

no book has an object or a subject other than

into the discourse of the emerging critical field

how it is made.2 The significance then of artists

of artists books. Tim Mosely – silverwattle bookfoundry

books lies in the relationships that are found or developed with how they were produced. The haptic touch played a central role in how I gathered the material and conceptual content of these artists books. Some of them took eighteen months to gather. The process involved collating, sequencing, altering, adding to, taking from, tearing, folding, feeling, and binding, which involved a myriad of

1.

haptic touches both literal and metaphorical. Two specific concerns informed what was

17–28. 2.

gathered: the rainforest and touch. These books were made through an intimate haptic touch of the rainforest.

Jennifer Fisher, “Tactile Affects,” Tessera 32 (Summer 2002):

Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus (London: Continuum, 2013), 2.

3.

Tim Mosely Dreaming of Mt Giluwe, 2012, 15 relief prints on Awagami Kozo paper, 170 x 450cm (see page 39).


Eight untitled prints made from the rainforest plywood, 2012–2014, 99x70cm.


Tim Mosely's "work is particularly concerned with the haptic qualities of the print, evoking the confluence of touch with aesthetic experience" Jess Berry

an insoluble difference from the deep coloured by touch privileged by blood textured by sight


8

an insoluable difference


from the deep Tim Mosely, 2013, unique artists book – single segment case bound, relief prints on awagami kozo, rainforest ply, curved folding folio, 32 x 76 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

9


10

an insoluable difference


coloured by touch Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book – single segment case bound, relief prints on awagami kozo, rainforest ply, felt, 70 x 104 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

11


12

an insoluable difference


privileged by blood Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book – single segment case bound, relief prints on awagami kozo, letterpress type, rainforest ply, felt, 70 x 104 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

13


14

an insoluable difference


textured by sight Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book – single segment case bound, relief prints on awagami kozo, charcoal, rainforest ply, felt, 70 x 104 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

15


16


“Shades of ultramarine, azure, and violet sinuously sweep across the surface, inviting the viewer’s touch as they turn the page” Jess Berry

an archipelago of remnant gardens touching rainforest untitled kanage pholu wanda


18

an archipelago of remnant gardens


touching rainforest Tim Mosely, 2014, artists book – single segment case bound, variable edition of 4, relief prints on awagami kozo, rainforest ply, curved folding folio, 34 x 78 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

19


20

an archipelago of remnant gardens


untitled (as of 14th March 2014) Tim Mosely, 2014, artists book – single segment case bound, variable edition of 8, relief prints on awagami kozo, rainforest ply, felt, 34 x 42 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

21


22

an archipelago of remnant gardens


kanage pholu wanda Tim Mosely, 2014, artists book – single segment case bound, variable edition of 11, relief prints on awagami kozo, rainforest ply, felt, 52 x 68 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

23


24


“Mosely highlights that visual content is only part of the experience of reading a book� Jess Berry

the Sangre de Christo isles given with a kiss for given again

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

25


26

the Sangre de Christo isles


given Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book, relief prints on awagami kozo, rubber stamps, rainforest ply, curved folding folio, 42 x 122 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

27


28

the Sangre de Christo isles


with a kiss Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book, relief prints on awagami kozo, rubber stamps, rainforest ply, curved folding folio, 42 x 122 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

29


30

the Sangre de Christo isles


for given again Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book, relief prints on awagami kozo, rubber stamps, rainforest ply, curved folding folio, 42 x 122 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

31


32


Mosely’s artwork “reveals how the print’s depth of surface can move beyond appearance to the experiential” Jess Berry

the haptic atolls tears that see book of tears one

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

33


34

the haptic atolls


tears that see Tim Mosely, 2014, artists book – single segment case bound, variable edition of 8, relief prints on awagami kozo, rubber stamps, rainforest ply, curved folding folios, 36 x 53 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

35


36

the haptic atolls


the book of tears – one Tim Mosely, 2014, artists book – single segment case bound, the first in the series, relief prints on awagami kozo, rainforest ply, 35 x 32 cm (open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

37


Tim Mosely – Artists Books Exhibitions & Collections exhibitions (selected) the Confluent´s Sea, solo exhibition, Webb Gallery, Griffith University, Qld

2014

Beneath the Surface, Gallery 105, Crane Arts, Philadelphia, USA Libris Awards 2013, Artspace Mackay, Qld (selected)

2013

An Inventory Of Al-Mutanabbi Street. An international Touring Exhibition (invited) Sense of Place in Artist Books, Architecture Library University of Minnesota, USA (curated)

2012

Codex Event 8, an Australian/British collaboration of pulp-printing, Manly Library, NSW Make Like an Eskimo, solo exhibition, POP Gallery, Griffith University, Qld The Silent Scream, Sir Louis Matheson Library, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic (curated)

2011

Codex Event 8, POP Gallery, Griffith University, Brisbane, Qld New Treasures, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld (curated)

2010

Artists books from Queensland collections, Redland Art Gallery, Cleveland, Qld (selected) Libris Awards 2010, Artspace Mackay, Qld (selected) reading between the marks, codex event 7, NEXT art Gallery, SCU, Lismore, NSW

2009

Freestyle Books, State Library of Queensland. Brisbane, Qld (curated)

2008

5th International Paper & Book Arts Triennial, Columbia College Chicago, USA (juried) pflight of the paper balloons, Tweed River Regional Art Gallery, NSW SCU Acquisitive Artists Book Award, Next Art Gallery SCU Lismore (acquired)

2007

Book Art 2006, Book Art Museum, LODZ, Poland (juried)

2006

4th International Artist's Book Triennial, Vilnius, Lithuania (juried) Seoul International Book Arts Competition. CO-EX, Seoul, Sth Korea, (juried) (awarded 3rd place).

artists books collections (selected) BIBLIOTHECA LIBORUM APUD ARTIFICEM (14 works) State Library of Queensland, Australian Library of Art (7 works) State Library of Victoria, Rare Books (2 works) Bower Ashton Library, Artist's Book Collection, University of West England, Bristol, UK Centre for Fine Print Research Artists Book Collection, UWE, UK Artspace Mackay, Artists Books Collection (2 works) National Library of Australia Carleton College Library, Artists Books Collection, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, USA The Neil Crawford Artists Book Collection, London (private) Bukarts Artists Book Collection, Vilnius, Lithuania Southern Cross University, Artists Books Collection (2 works).

38


List of Artworks coloured by touch

kanage pholu wanda

Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book – single

Tim Mosely, 2014, artists book – single segment case

segment case bound, relief prints on awagami kozo,

bound, variable edition of 11, relief prints on awagami

rainforest ply, felt, 70 x 104 cm (open).

kozo, rainforest ply, felt, 52 x 68 cm (open).

privileged by blood

given

Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book – single

Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book, relief prints on

segment case bound, relief prints on awagami kozo,

awagami kozo, rubber stamps, rainforest ply, curved

letterpress type, rainforest ply, felt, 70 x 104 cm

folding folio, 42 x 122 cm (open).

(open).

with a kiss

textured by sight

Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book, relief prints on

Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book – single

awagami kozo, rubber stamps, rainforest ply, curved

segment case bound, relief prints on awagami kozo,

folding folio, 42 x 122 cm (open).

charcoal, rainforest ply, felt, 70 x 104 cm (open).

for given again

from the deep

Tim Mosely, 2014, unique artists book, relief prints on

Tim Mosely, 2013, unique artists book – single

awagami kozo, rubber stamps, rainforest ply, curved

segment case bound, relief prints on awagami kozo,

folding folio, 42 x 122 cm (open).

rainforest ply, curved folding folio, 32 x 76 cm (open).

the book of tears – one

untitled (as of 14th March 2014)

Tim Mosely, 2014, artists book – single segment case

Tim Mosely, 2014, artists book – single segment case

bound, the first in the series, relief prints on awagami

bound, variable edition of 8, relief prints on awagami

kozo, rainforest ply, 35 x 32 cm (open).

kozo, rainforest ply, felt, 34 x 42 cm (open).

tears that see

touching rainforest

Tim Mosely, 2014, artists book – single segment case

Tim Mosely, 2014, artists book – single segment case

bound, variable edition of 8, relief prints on awagami

bound, variable edition of 4, relief prints on awagami

kozo, rubber stamps, rainforest ply, curved folding folios,

kozo, rainforest ply, curved folding folio, 34 x 78 cm

36 x 53 cm (open).

(open).

Tim Mosely

//

re/membering touch

39


credits Authors: Tim Mosely & George Petelin Editor: Evie Franzidis Photography: Eric Williamson Quotes: Jess Berry, from Beneath the Surface catalogue essay Published by: silverwattle bookfoundry and Queensland College of Art, Griffith University Designed by Rosalie Hinz at Liveworm Studio South Bank Exhibition held at the Fox Family White Gloves Room Level 4, State Library of Queensland ISBN: 9781922216403


Tim Mosely re/membering touch  

re/membering touch. This catalogue documents four series of artists books produced by Tim Mosely.

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