Last Days / Rich Hours
Lead artist/researchers: Peter Wilson / Gillian Robinson
Last Days / Rich Hours is a slide show of scans of double page spreads from two artist sketchbooks compiled by Peter Wilson and Gillian Robinson. The sketch book pages present visual and verbal collages composed by collaborative exchange.
The principle research issues prompted by this work are:
- the relationship between image and text: postmodern ekphrasis
- the nature of creative dialogue in collaborative artistic enterprise
- inter and/or intra textuality
The work shown in this project was a development from previous collaborative creative endeavour by the artist Gillian Robinson and the writer and poet Peter Wilson. Previously they collaborated on a series of paired pictures and poems, resulting in various gallery exhibitions, public readings, a CDROM and in 2005 the volume Headless Chic: poems by Peter Wilson, pictures by Gillian Robinson, Teknoy Press.
The work in this project is freer in conception. Logistically, it involved entries in artist sketchbooks by writer and artist: two sketchbooks were exchanged at regular intervals to allow for multiple alternate entries. Each entry responded to, continued or elaborated on previous entries or introduced a new element which could in turn be responded to, continued or elaborated.
Although entries by the artist were primarily pictorial and those by the writer primarily verbal, unlike the paired pictures and poems, they were not exclusively so. Both collaborators were free to enter visual and verbal elements onto the pages of the sketchbooks.
The creative dialogue set up by this mechanism has both exophoric and endophoric aspects. Both artist and writer make use of externally sourced material. Visually, this involves such techniques as collage and frottage along side original mark-making. Verbally, there is quotation, imitation, translation and phrasal variation alongside original citation, brief poems and mini-narratives. This exophoric appropriation constitutes the work’s visual and verbal intertextuality. But further, the work within any one sketchbook pays endophoric reference to its own pages, repeating, citing from, foreshadowing and otherwise alluding to images and text elsewhere in the book. This might, by analogy, be termed the work’s visual and verbal intratextuality.
As the two sketch books developed, Peter and Gillian were able to identify and therefore develop more consciously certain thematic and tonal threads. Last Days finally emerges as a darker work, while Rich Hours has a more positive celebratory feel.
The completed sketch books are small unique artefacts that have textural and tactile qualities as well as visual and verbal content. They are not reproducable in this form.
It was therefore decided to further develop the work in digital media form. All the pages, including the covers and endpapers, were scanned, cropped and adjusted for brightness and colour. The order in which scans appear in the slide show was also manipulated to create juxtapositions not apparent in the books themselves. In this way the slide show is not simply a record of the sketch books but a different artefact in its own right.