Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Thirty Six Views of the Eiffel Tower


I was on the lower level of the Queensland Art Gallery last week when I was surprised to see a display case containing some books. Inside was a new acquisition for the QAG, a copy of the original 1902 edition of Henri Riviere's book of lithographs called Les Trente-Six Vues de la Tour Eiffel. Nine of the lithographs were also framed and displayed on an adjoining wall.

I was quite excited to see this as I have a copy of the book reprinted by Chronicle books and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 2010 which I bought from the bookshop in the Louvre when I was staying with a Parisian friend in 2011. I was enchanted by these thirty six lithographs of Paris from the 1880's and 1890's.  

While visiting this friend in 2010 I had purchased a little flip book of illustrations of the Eiffel Tower being constructed.  My friend was surprised that I would want this little book as for her the Eiffel Tower is an abomination and she expressed disgust that this monstrosity had become the symbol and most famous monument of her city, and was known all over the world.

It was always a contentious structure with Parisians from the time building commenced in 1887 and I was intrigued to find that this attitude remained over 100 years later.

I left Paris and even France because the Eiffel Tower just annoyed me too much. 
Not only did you see it from everywhere, you found it everywhere made out of every known material, displayed in all the shop windows, an unavoidable and horrible nightmare.
Guy de Maupassant, La Vie Errante, 1890

Riviere's thirty six views of the Eiffel Tower were inspired by the Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji, thirty six woodcuts by Hokusai, made from 1831-1834.  As I was in Paris for a month I felt inspired to investigate all of Riviere's locations to discover how many still existed and still offered a view of the Eiffel Tower.  I wanted to see how much it dominated the skyline in 2011, if at all, and I hoped to have enough material to make a book of my own photographs - hopefully thirty six.  Many of the locations had disappeared or been renamed and many others no longer offered even a glimpse of the tower.  Along with the views of Riviere's that I was able to reproduce, I discovered many alternative views of my own and was able to make a 2011 version of Thirty Six Views.

The Thirty Six Views by Helen Malone

             Here are a couple of the views I was able to match. 
 In Riviere's lithographs the tower is not always easy to spot and my images are similar.

Riviere's first image

My first image taken at Place Charles de Gaulle-Etoile

                                                  Riviere's view from Quai de Passy

                                               My view from Quai de Passy 2011

                                                   Riviere's view Over the Rooftops

                                      My view over the Rooftops from Montmartre 2011

Riviere's image of the Quai du Javel

My view of Quai du Javel 2011

     A couple of the alternative images of the Eiffel Tower I discovered

From the Australian Embassy, Rue Jean Rey

Inside the Eiffel Tower

A bunch of Eiffel Towers held by a souvenir seller
in Avenue Gustave Eiffel

The Eiffel Tower glimpsed through the Arc de Triomphe

I wish I could always find such an absorbing and interesting project to work on while on holidays.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Another showing of 4 x 4

Following on from an exhibition in the Cairns Regional Gallery earlier in the year, a display of sculptural books by 4 South East Qld and 4 Far North Qld artists has been installed in the Brisbane Square Library, George Street, Brisbane.

The SEQ artists are Fiona Dempster, Susan Bowers, Adele Outteridge and myself, and the FNQ artists are Rose Rigley, Claudine Marzik, Barbara Dover and Rosie Miller.

I chose to make two poetic works - interpretations of Rimbaud's Drunken Boat and Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil as they are always good to represent sculpturally, and they also turned out to be a suitable choice for the library.  
My third piece is called Into the Void. 

The exhibition continues from 1 July to 30 September.

The 'abbe' Artists Book Conference will also take place in Brisbane from the 16th - 18th July.  There will be an associated Artists Book Fair on the Friday afternoon and Saturday.  Details can be found here 

Friday, 3 July 2015

A Great Book Weekend at SLQ

A highly anticipated artists book event on the calendar is the yearly event at SLQ sponsored by the Siganto Foundation, and this year's event was better than ever.   This year introduced us to Amir Brito Cador and his presentation on other Brazilian book artists which was a real treat and quite inspiring.  It also introduced us to performances of artists books, and we heard about the projects of newly completed and current SLQ Fellows. It was a really great day and I was obviously so absorbed I didn't think to take even one photo!

The Artists Book Fair held on the Sunday was also hugely enjoyable and successful.  I loved seeing other people's books and sharing a table with my friend and collaborator Jack Oudyn.  We had a range of our own books, some collaborative books and Jack had lots of zines.  Once again I had such a great time mixing with people and talking about books that I didn't think to even take 
a photo of our table.

Thank goodness for Doug Spowart who did take lots of photos and he and Vicki Cooper have written up a well illustrated account of the two day event on their blog here.

There is also an aptly titled blog post (Artists Books Extravaganza) on the 
SLQ Australian Library of Art blog here.   

How fortunate we are to have the State Library of Queensland and it's support from the Siganto Foundation, and we hope these Siganto events and the associated Artists Book Fair will continue.

I had made a little booklet/zine for the day titled Makes no Sense.  I had received a pile of cards from the exhibition of my book Back to the Front in France.  The card had the photo positioned very low down with a huge white area above.  My friend Jack immediately folded it and the image appropriately went to the back, so I used the cards as covers to make 20.  I had enough cards to paint ink onto the glossy surface of others and scratch into it with an etching needle 
to make some of the pages. 

Of course it's about WWI hence the title, and some of the pages are placed upside down or sideways.
Photos of the first few pages below.