ECA Library Artists’ Books Petting Zoo 2014, by Vicki Madden

DSC_0035Photos by Natasha Anstey.

I’m quickly finding that every time I venture into ECA, I come out green with envy. I’ve always been jealous of people who are artsy, and ECA’s showcase of their most captivating artists’ books made me want to quit my English literature master’s and spend the rest of my days drawing (never mind that I haven’t the talent for it). It never ceases to amaze me how good art forces you to view things from a completely unexpected angle. Suddenly, even the tiniest, insignificant detail seems beautiful once it is drawn out.

DSC_0011As soon as I walked through the doors, I was drawn to a gothic display in the corner. Some might find that this has become a running theme throughout my blog posts, but, being someone who specialises in gothic literature, I guess I just inadvertently gravitate towards the dark and twisted.  This probably also accounts for why I spent about forty minutes piecing together shadowy mini puzzles in a corner – part of the same artist’s exhibition, which also included a 3D pop-out map of a cemetery, “A Dance of Death in Three Parts,” and a series of gargoyle-type faces named “Grotesque London” and “Grotesque New York.”

When I finally managed to peel myself away from the puzzles, I stumbled upon Franticham’s Fish Objects and Fish Logbook. Never would I have dreamed that fish could come in so many different shapes and forms, each one more and more stunning than the last. It was clear that this artist was extremely well travelled, drawing influences from various locations around Europe and Asia. One book in particular, Tokyo Umbrella, reminded me of my own experience growing up in Asia – and I guess that’s really what art is all about: hitting a nerve, striking a chord, and creating a lasting impression.DSC_0049

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