Last week, Freight Books read…

[Cover] by Amy Todman[Cover] by Amy Todman, published by Brae Editions. Amy Todman is a Glasgow-based artist and researcher who I have actually met on a couple of occasions, one of which was a walk through a rather uninspiring coppice woodland near the most confusing notapub in Scotland. I really like her visual art, so when she sent me an email asking if I’d like to review a book she’d written I jumped at the chance.

[Cover] is a tricky one to review, because there isn’t much text involved here. A series of anonymous vignettes are played out on each page, detailing the life of an artwork. From conception to completion, what we see here is the collaborative process often involved in the creation of an artwork.

It is also a narrative of loss and uncertainty and (in my reading of it) of love. The (novel?novella?story?book? – I think book will work) book is full of an half-alphabet of characters, from A to O (thankfully no more, as it becomes hard to remember the ties going on between them) who, in a way that I have yet to discover, manage to have distinct and interesting personalities despite the sparsity of words and lack of names. The closest I have come to diagnosing the key here is that each character has carefully designed actions, and it is these actions that keep them apart from one another, but that is so wooly an explanation to be useless.

Before I quote from this (in the process ruining the typography on show) I should mention that there are some fantastic pieces of art in the book, mostly (totally?) take on the same object, but by different artists. It is really interesting to have this third channel with which to explore the way we see things differently, and how we express these things differently, too.

This is a beautiful book, full of nuance and character without a word going spare. If a novel were a lump of wood, this would be that block whittled down to the heartwood, sanded and polished.

B discusses the object with A

 

Although it transpires that A has forgotten about his original
request, B believes this does not take away from the meaning of
what she is doing

A did an important thing by being the initial force between objects
and people which allow something new to emerge

[Cover] will be published on the 15th of May.

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