On show: Piece of Paper Press archive 1994–2017

‘Piece of Paper Press: Artworks and Ephemera 1994–2017’. Display view. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Strong Language took place at the Site Gallery, Sheffield, from 11–14 October 2018, and was curated by the artist, writer and performance maker Tim Etchells of Sheffield’s Forced Entertainment. Highlighting radical writing and independent publishing in the UK through readings, performances, projections, installations and discussions, Strong Language centred on Piece of Paper Press – a publishing project that I began in 1994 – and included a comprehensive display of Piece of Paper Press publications dating back to the project’s inception.

Piece of Paper Press was created by author Tony White in 1994 as a low-tech, sustainable artists’ book project to commission and publish new writings, visual and graphic works by artists and writers. Each book is made from a single A4 sheet that is printed on both sides and then folded, stapled and trimmed by hand to create the book. Piece of Paper Press titles are (usually) published in a limited edition of 150 and always distributed free.

‘Piece of Paper Press artworks and ephemera, 1994–2017’ was shown in the Project Space at the newly reopened Site Gallery, and displayed books by Ian Bourn, Pavel Büchler, Peter Bunting, Barbara Campbell, Mikey Cuddihy, Stevie Deas, Tim Etchells, Stephanie Fawbert, Rose Frain, Jane Gifford, Bruce Gilchrist, Halford + Beard, Christopher Hewitt, Steven Hull, Liliane Lijn, Elizabeth Magill, Penny McCarthy, Susana Medina, Michael Moorcock, James Pyman, Borivoj Radaković, Sheena Rose, Gordana Stanišić, Suzanne Treister, Alison Turnbull, and Joanna Walsh, as well as one or two of mine. This was the first time that all of the publications in the series have been exhibited together, and alongside these I selected a number of artworks and ephemera from the archive, looking in particular for items that highlighted making and the evolution of processes across the project’s 24 years. I hope to do it again some time.

Additionally, four new Piece of Paper Press titles were specially commissioned to be given away free during the Strong Language weekend: Dandelion by Joolz Denby, Real Dreams by M John Harrison, That Small Death by Courttia Newland, and 12 Race Card Answers by Selina Thompson. It is a great thrill for me to be publishing new works by four such inspirational contributors. More on these later.

The display at Site Gallery, which ran from 12–14 October, was documented by Sheffield photographer Chris Saunders, and here are a selection of his images.

‘Piece of Paper Press: Artworks and Ephemera 1994–2017’, in the Project Space, Site Gallery, Sheffield. Display view. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Display view showing Vitrine 1, Back row (L–R): Tim Etchells, About Lisa: a short bad story in twelve good parts (POPP.004, 1995), Penny McCarthy, Bedrooms (POPP.005, 1995). Front (L-R): Tony White, Title Track – print-ready artwork. Tim Etchells, About Lisa – print-ready artworks. Annotated draft press release for Penny McCarthy, Bedrooms. Press release for Tim Etchells, About Lisa. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 2, Back row (L–R): Peter Bunting, Seven Views of Geneva (POPP.006, 1995), Mikey Cuddihy, untitled (POPP.007, 1996), Gordana Stanišić, On Moles (POPP.008, 1996), Artist/Writer, Default 1 (POPP.009, 1996), Rose Frain, Between 12 Noon and 2pm (POPP.010, 1996). Front (L–R): Mikey Cuddihy, untitled – print-ready artworks with masked areas. Press release for Mikey Cuddihy, untitled. Rose Frain, Between 12 Noon and 2pm – page-spreads. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 2, close-up: Mikey Cuddihy, print-ready artworks. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 3, close-up: Clockwise from bottom left: James Pyman, The Adventures of Lionel – unfolded signature with annotations to designer re Artist Newsletter giveaway. Tony White, undated letter to James Pyman 1996 (from the collection of James Pyman). James Pyman, The Adventures of Lionel: Through the Moon (POPP.011, 1997), Tony White, A0 (POPP.012, 1996), Suzy Treister, Vibrators from the House of Brodsky (POPP.013 1997), Pavel Büchler, Good Guys (POPP.014, 1997) – display copy. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 4, Back row (L–R): Borivoj Radaković, Posjetiteljeva Knjiga (POPP.017, 2003), Bruce Gilchrist, Drawing from Perplexity (POPP.018, 2005), Alison Turnbull, Black Borders: 1994–2006 (POPP.019, 2006), James Pyman, The Adventures of Lionel: The book of hours (POPP.020, 2007), Stevie Deas, Cleanskins (POPP.021, 2007). Front (L–R): Bruce Gilchrist, Drawing from Perplexity – uncorrected proof, inkjet on card; Alison Turnbull, Black Borders – unfolded signatures. Bubblejet print; James Pyman – Lionel drawing for title page and event invite. Photocopy. Invitation to celebrate the publication of the 20th edition from Piece of Paper Press, 15 March 2007. Photocopy on card. James Pyman, The Adventures of Lionel: The Book of Hours – page spread. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 4, close-up: Clockwise from top left: James Pyman, Lionel drawing, (photocopy); James Pyman, The Adventures of Lionel: The Book of Hours; Piece of Paper Press, launch invite. (Photo: Chris Saunders).

Vitrine 5, Back row (L–R): Halford + Beard, Czar 52 Crash (POPP.022, 2009), Tony White, London Palm (POPP.023, 2009), Barbara Campbell, News Haiku (POPP.024, 2009), Liliane Lijn, Atomanotes (POPP.025, 2010), Tony White, A Porky Prime Cut (POPP.026, 2011), Michael Moorcock, A Twist in the Lines (POPP.027, 2013) – un-numbered, showing production damage. Front (L–R): Liliane Lijn, ‘Atom Man Notes’, typed text – photocopy. Press release for Liliane Lijn, Atomanotes. Liliane Lijn, Atomanotes, page spread. Display copies, string. Michael Moorcock, A Twist in the Lines – print-ready artwork. Inkjet on paper, Spraymount. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 5, close-up: Display copies. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 6, Back row (L–R): Tony White, The Holborn Cenotaph (POPP.028, 2014, fourth impression) – and A5 pamphlet reprint for CreativeWorks London Festival, King’s College London (2016), Joanna Walsh, Shklovsky’s Zoo (POPP.029, 2015), Steven Hull, Carnevil (POPP.030, 2015), Ian Bourn, Subjective Interfaces (POPP.031, 2016), Susana Medina, The Bowie Neurotransmitter (POPP.032, 2017), Sheena Rose, Home is on My Mind (POPP.033, 2017). Front (L–R): Joanna Walsh, Shklovsky’s Zoo – print-ready artwork. Inkjet on paper, Spraymount. Tony White, cover mock-up. Ink and marker pen on paper. Joanna Walsh, Shklovsky’s Zoo – cover registration test on blank booklet. Photocopy. ‘Titles: 1994–2015’ – published to celebrate the 30th edition from Piece of Paper Press, mailed out as an insert with Carnevil by Steven Hull. Printed in collaboration with Jim Pennington of Aloes Books as an unnumbered limited edition of 200, using a Gestetner 320 stencil duplicator from hand-drawn manually-typed stencils. Shot with Webley air-pistol, pellet retained. Signed by Pennington. Ian Bourn, Subjective Interfaces – print-ready artwork. Inkjet on paper, Spraymount. Sheena Rose, Home is on my Mind… – unfolded signature. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Steven Hull, Carnevil, display copy. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 6, close-up: Joanna Walsh, Shklovsky’s Zoo – cover registration test on blank booklet. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 6, close-up: L–R Steven Hull, Carnevil; Ian Bourn, Subjective Interfaces; Susana Medina, The Bowie Neurotransmitter. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 6, close-up: Sheena Rose, Home is on My Mind… (detail). (Photo: Chris Saunders)

‘Piece of Paper Press: Artworks and Ephemera 1994–2017’, Site Gallery, Sheffield. Installation view. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Strong Language took place at Site Gallery, Sheffield, 11–14 October 2018, curated by Tim Etchells, in association with Off The Shelf Festival of Words. Strong Language was part of Cultural Destinations 2, a project of Sheffield Culture Consortium, funded by Arts Council England.

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