Public program The Book Lovers
With Cally Spooner & Georgina Starr
Why do artists write novels? What impact does the artist’s novel have on the visual arts? How should such a novel be experienced? Is the artist’s novel’s specificity to be found in the process of its creation rather than in the text printed on its pages? These questions will serve as springboards for an afternoon of discussion, performance, and a sharing of innovative methodologies across disciplines.
On Wednesday 29 March, there will be a public programme open to all students from PXL-MAD School of Arts as well as the general public. Following a keynote presentation by The Book Lovers, guest artists Georgina Starr and Cally Spooner will present and discuss their respective artists’ novels currently in progress. We will use this unique opportunity to take an in-depth look at their creative processes while they are still in development and discuss how their projects are produced at the intersection between writing and art making.
Georgina Starr is presenting a lecture-performance called The Voices. It explores the themes, sounds, visions, and voices within Starr’s recent film Quarantaine (2020) and her unpublished artist’s novel The Discreet Dash. Dissecting the personal, philosophical, and theoretical, she conjures the multiple sonorous voices guiding her during the conception of both works. While examining representations of the ‘maternal’, Starr draws on historical female mythologies and narratives including the legend of St Ursula, Marian cults, 20th century therapy-driven psychological experimentation, deep listening and the significance of ancient magical formulae, auditory hallucinations, spells, and hex poems.
Cally Spooner is engaging in conversation with The Book Lovers to discuss notions of fiction and performativity in relation to her artist’s novel Collapsing in Parts (2013) and, more particularly, Dead Time (currently in progress) which she defines as a ‘sonic crime novel’, and as an ‘expanded novel’. It centres around a 63-page performance score of the same name. Since 2018, Spooner has been incrementally translating this score into live performance, sound, scripts, and installations.
On Thursday 30 March, Cally Spooner is running a workshop on THE PRESENT TENSE. This workshop finds its place in a 21st century climate where everyday performance is digitally rated, ranked, tracked, and quantified in every dimension of life through ‘chrononormativity’. In response to this temporal aggressor, Cally Spooner has been working with an alternative temporality that might be resistant to chrononormativity, called ‘dead time’. Participants in the workshop will be asked to carry out a score as a performative composition of their own work in the present, exploring if and how performance is able to pull subjects out of time. How might a continuous resistance be interpreted in parallel to the adoption of a present-tense grammar? How might we score and organise our own work in the PRESENT?
There are limited places to participate in the workshop. If you are interested, please RSVP by writing an email before 27 March, with a short motivation to: Pieter.Vermeulen@pxl.be
This project is possible thanks to the generous support of the M HKA, Flemish Government and Mondriaan Fund.
The Book Lovers is the name of a collaborative artistic research project on the artist’s novel, carried out by David Maroto (visual artist) and Joanna Zielińska (Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, M HKA). As its cornerstone, The Book Lovers have created a collection and bibliography of artists’ novels. These are complemented with a series of exhibitions, performance programmes, publications, commissions, and pop-up bookstores. This collaboration has enabled them to engage with a host of international institutions, including Whitechapel Gallery (London); Museum of Modern Art (Warsaw); Kunstinstituut Melly (Rotterdam); EFA Project Space (NYC); CCA Glasgow; Fabra i Coats (Barcelona); Index (Stockholm); De Appel (Amsterdam); Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art (Warsaw); a. o. The Book Lovers have edited and published the anthology Artist Novels (Sternberg Press, 2015); the artist’s novel Tamam Shud (Sternberg Press, 2018); as well as the recent double volume book The Artist’s Novel: The Novel as a Medium in the Visual Arts (Mousse Publishing).
Cally Spooner is an artist who exhibits performances that unfold across media – on film, in text, as objects, through sound, and as illustrated in drawings. Recent institutional solo exhibitions have taken place at the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium; Parrhesiades, London; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Swiss Institute, New York; Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève; the New Museum, New York; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Her work has appeared in recent group exhibitions at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Centre Pompidou-Metz, France; BY ART MAT- TERS, Hangzhou; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; MAMbo, Bologna; Serpentine Gallery, London; Kunsthaus Zurich; and the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado. Her novella Collapsing in Parts was published by Mousse in 2012. Spooner is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s Mads Øvlisen PhD Scholarship for practice-based art. She is currently a research fellow at Overgaden, Copenhagen, in association with the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Copenhagen (2021–24). She was born in the United Kingdom, is British Italian, and lives and works in Turin.
Georgina Starr’s work came to international attention in the 1990s with her large-scale installations incorporating video, sound, sculpture, text and performance. Her works follow complex and fragile emotional narratives in which she explores female identity, history and fiction to create multi-layered theatrical events. Starr’s artworks have featured in hundreds of exhibitions both in the UK and internationally over the last 30 years, including Tate Britain, Museum of Modern Art New York, Kunsthalle Zurich, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, The Venice Biennale, Glasgow International and Frieze Projects. Her works are held in major museum collections worldwide and her most recent film Quarantaine was nominated for the Film London Jarman Award in 2021.