Art books to lift the spirits this winter
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Since Lee Alexander McQueen founded the Sarabande Foundation in 2006 to support “creatively fearless” designers and artists, it has mentored more than 130 upcoming makers including Bianca Saunders and Craig Green. Bound, its latest publication, celebrates the work of 36 of its alumni while raising funds for future generations of scholars. Artists including Aurora Pettinari York, Jo Miller, Saelia Aparicio and Alice von Maltzahn have hand-dyed, sculpted, debossed, stitched, etched, French-folded and hand-pricked “a wide range of weird and wonderful papers”, with the results then bound by hand into 100 collectable books. Evie O’Connor’s luscious oil painting takes a bird’s-eye view of a swimmer doing laps in a hotel pool, while photographer Sam Rock has contributed four romantic monochrome portraits. British artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan’s coral-toned diptych, created over lockdown, features hidden text that “humorously and earnestly narrates my internal dialogue,” she explains – “I use my work as a cathartic release similar to a diary.” Along the top of the canvas she writes: “Won’t you just save me?” Nini Barbakazde
The remote Polynesian island of Rapa Nui, named Easter Island by the Dutch, is known for its collection of around 900 13th- to 16th-century stone statues, thought to be positioned at points around the Pacific isle that mark the water sources. It’s understood that these majestic figures, which are known as moai, depict the faces and forms of the island’s indigenous ancestors. It was after seeing a story about the statues in a 1960s issue of Life magazine that fashion photographer duo Sean+Seng were inspired to shoot a series of photographs around the island; these have now been collected into a limited-edition book, introduced by an original poem from Booker Prize finalist Nadifa Mohamed. “Most recent photographs are super-sharp digital images of the moai, taken with all the latest technical gear,” says Sean. “We wanted to produce something softer: a series of tableaux that tell a specific story of our cinematic impression of the island, of time lost.” Taken mostly at dawn and dusk, they show Hoto and Hoko, two local boys who became the photographers’ models, as they explore the stone faces, dressed in outfits made from grass that Hoto’s sister gathered from the crater of the volcano on the island and then dried in the sun. Baya Simons
Eyes That Look At The Sky, in an edition of 100 copies, with a poem written in response to the work by Booker Prize finalist Nadifa Mohamed, and designed by Christopher Simmonds, £175 or £475 for collectors’ edition and signed hand print, clairederouenbooks.com
Since launching in 2014, Art on a Postcard has auctioned off miniature artworks by the likes of Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry and Marina Abramovic every year in a bid to help The Hepatitis C Trust achieve its goal of eliminating the liver disease by 2030. This time, photographers such as Miles Aldridge, Ade Adekola and Harry Borden have donated boxsets of 10 museum-quality, postcard-sized prints to the cause, which will be sold as part of the charity’s new Fine Art Photography Boxsets sale.
It’s “a wonderful way of supporting The Hepatitis C Trust,” says Borden, whose candid black- and-white celebrity photographs are held in London’s National Portrait Gallery. His boxset includes his images of Morgan Freeman, Michael Hutchence, the Spice Girls, Gillian Anderson and Björk, who he shot in her native Iceland. “For her, being photographed is a creative collaboration,” he continues. “It was slightly stressful as I was only given around 20 minutes. At one point, I absurdly asked her to ‘be spontaneous!’ She laughed, stuck out her tongue and I got my picture.” BS
Fine Art Photography Boxsets are available at artonapostcard.com for £250 each, with the proceeds split between The Hepatitis C Trust and the photographer
The magic of Marrakech
“To visit Morocco is still like turning the pages of some illuminated Persian manuscript all embroidered with bright shapes and subtle lines,” wrote Edith Wharton in her 1920 travelogue In Morocco. Extracts from the American novelist’s colourful literary guidebook are featured alongside 30 digital paintings by contemporary British artist Leslie Gerry in a new large-format leather and cloth-bound art book, Marrakesh. The book is a visual celebration of the architectural and cultural history of the Ochre City, which has inspired artists and designers from Jasper Conran to Yves Saint Laurent. Gerry’s digital paintings include familiar sights such as Jacques Majorelle’s Klein-blue villa, as well as more intimate street scenes: a man seated in front of a richly textured Berber carpet. “The colours, people, markets and buildings – the magnetic and intoxicating city on the edge of the Sahara Desert is another world,” says Gerry. BS
Marrakesh is published by Leslie Gerry Editions at £1,450 in an edition of 90 copies