The Spots That Never Went
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The Spots That Never Went is a personal reflection on the devastation of AIDS and the lasting impact on a generation, presented as a tabloid newspaper with a broadsheet print.
The book is a Highly-Commended Finalist at the 2019 Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing, announced at the 2019 Melbourne Art Book Fair (15-17 March 2019). Sarah Bodman from the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), UWE Bristol, picked it as one of ten artists’ books of 2018. She writes, “It’s a brutally simple, heartbreaking thing – we need to read more books like this.” https://www.a-n.co.uk/news/artists-books-2018-10-of-the-best-from-irreverent-fun-to-brutal-heartbreak/
An exhibition of new work-in-progress developed responding to the publication, took place Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 February 2020 at Cambridge Artworks, Cambridge CB4 3EF. www.rbakker.com
The book was included in the group show, Print: A Catalyst for Social Change, Bury Art Museum, Bury BL9 0DR (9 February-27 April 2019) and was selected for Salon 18, Photofusion’s annual members’ show at London SW9 8LA (7 December 2018 to 12 January 2019).
Remembering the lurid reporting on AIDS by the UK tabloid newspapers in the 1980s, Bakker set out to explore the tabloid newspaper form with the intention to subvert its code, forcing his own self-definition on both paper and form.
Short sentences starting with ‘I remember a time’, face mono abstract halftone images generated from one Polaroid print. The black and white halftone dots explore notions of remembering and forgetting, darkness and light, hope and fear, being HIV positive or HIV negative, presence and absence, life and death.
The work is presented as a tabloid newspaper with a separate broadsheet print, both contained inside a clear archival polypropylene pocket with black dot sticker to exterior.
I remember a time when the police raided bars and clubs wearing decontamination suits and gloves.
£15. Ships worldwide
Self-published artist’s book, 28pp, tabloid newspaper (289mm x 380mm, newspaper print, 55gsm); glued-on colour print copy of Polaroid Spectra positive print (100mm x 100mm, matt photo paper, 120gsm); broadsheet newspaper, 4pp (350mm x 500mm, newspaper print 55gsm); archival crystal clear polypropylene pocket, black dot sticker, black board (A4, 300gsm).
Printed Lies is a reproduction in book format of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign video, Which NHS will you vote for? Assembled by Roelof Bakker, the book exposes how both explicit and implicit lies are part of the present political sphere of the UK.
In the book, screengrabs taken from the video portray what hospital life is like ‘inside the EU’ and how it will be once the UK is ‘outside the EU’ – with £350m to spend every week on the NHS. The images subtly imply that once the UK is ‘outside the EU’, hospitals will be less busy as EU citizens will be gone.
In a brief essay, Bakker states, “I never thought I would publish a book of hatred, of lies, but here it is.”
Reviewing Printed Lies for The New European, Steve Anglesey calls the book “a devastating work” and writes, “I’m not sure I’ve read a more compelling illustration of why Leave won than Printed Lies.”
76 pp, paperback, size 13.2 x 19.7cm
Publication date 21 November 2017
Available at https://negativepresslondon.bigcartel.com/product/printed-lies (free UK p&p).