JW: What practical problems did you encounter in attaching the books to the surface? JL: I used canvas to key to board surfaces with household materials like Polyfilla. I anchored books with. screws and wire.
JL: Mostly from Peter Eaton's, a second-hand bookseller in Holland Park Avenue. He had bins of very cheap books outside his shop. I just delved, picking out titles or compact shapes that interested me.
JL: Sometimes. If the title wasn't relevant I might obliterate it or remove the spine. You see, I detected a consistency between the black on white of the printed pages and the 'geometry' - the spatial relations of points - in my spray paintings, though, of course, in the case of books, the former angular geometry becomes linear and time-determined. On the outside a book is part of the world of appearances, but
inside it is governed by a code. So, in a way, a book is like the human organism with its genetic code. And aren't such organisms anchored in a whole event - Nature? That's what the questioning and examination of the form was about. I was finding out more by this approach than by reading.
JL: The ground, if it is white, stands for 'no action' - the zero state of action. Art's blank canvas as a work was equivalent to Einstein's conclusion that gravitational collapse of the universe would proceed to nothing.
JL: In the beginning I wanted to concentrate on the white to the black because
that's the sculptural element - a dynamic, autogenerative relation. Only later, in
1959, did the coloured pages come into it. This was a response to a film made in my
studio by Pathe News. My idea was to have an unmoving object - the book relief -
animated by changes of pages and colour. That is, a universe which provides a
stable framework but within which there are changes of state. Pathe News proved
uncooperative so I made the film myself. It's called Unclassified Material. You can
run the film in reverse and it still works.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?