The Spots That Never Went
New edition, 31 January 2020
The Spots That Never Went is a personal reflection on the devastation of AIDS and the lasting impact on a generation, presented in tabloid and broadsheet newspaper formats.
The book was a Highly-Commended Finalist at the Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing at the 2019 Melbourne Art Book Fair (15-17 March 2019). The Prize aims to acknowledge publishing as a key critical practice around the world and support innovation in the field. https://www.booksandpublishing.com.au/articles/2019/03/18/129965/amsterdam-based-publisher-wins-ngv-art-and-design-book-prize/
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/
The Spots That Never Went 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).
The work is presented in tabloid newspaper format, to link its content to the lurid, bigoted reporting of AIDS by the tabloids in the 1980s/90s. Coarse, distorted fragments of a halftoned mono Polaroid print of a decaying, spotted apple held tenderly in the palm of a hand, evoke memories of people living with Kaposi’s sarcoma. The black and white dots also symbolise notions of remembering and forgetting, of darkness and light, of hope and fear, of being HIV positive or HIV negative, of life and death, of presence and absence.
Facing each image on the opposite page is one brief sentence, a memory or experience put down in print, always starting with the words, ‘I remember a time…’
I remember a time when the police raided bars and clubs wearing decontamination suits and gloves.
£15. Ships worldwide. Pre-order new edition, out 31 January 2020 securely at the Big Cartel shop
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 and public 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 better 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 the brief essay accompanying the images 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).
How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother
How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother is a work addressing the lost hopes and dreams of fallen soldiers and anyone affected by their death. An unbound book of blank postcards shows the recorded ages on headstones of World War I and World War II soldiers, photographed at war cemeteries tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Belgium, England and the Netherlands.
Every age from eighteen to fifty is included. On the bound-in leaflet Bakker states, “Each number represents an age, from the beginning of my adulthood to where I am now.”
How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother is dedicated to Canadian World War I teenage soldier James Carter Irwin (1898-1916) and his mother Jennie Carter Irwin (1871-1925). Mrs Irwin supplied the wording for the epitath that appears on her son’s headstone at Nunhead Cemetery, London. It is Mrs Irwin herself who therefore asks the question, ‘How many hopes lie buried here?’
The book was launched at James Carter’s grave on the centenary of his death on 31 July 2016 with a flower laying ceremony and a speech.
Jan Woolf writes, “(The work) doesn’t aestheticise war, but it does personalise it, as the artist invites us to reflect on the hopes and dreams any of us may have had at twenty two – thirty three – fifty… ”
An article about the background to the project appears at the University of Kent’s Gateways to the First World War http://www.gatewaysfww.org.uk/blog/how-many-hopes-lie-buried-here-mother
Hopes was exhibited at The Library, Dutch Church, London EC2N 2HA in 2016 (11 October to 18 December). Bakker paid tribute to James Carter Irwin and his mother Jennie Carter Irwin at a Remembrance Day speech in the Dutch Church on 13 November 2016. As part of Dialogues of the Dead, a day of explorations of life writing and death on 24 May 2018 at King’s College, London, Bakker delivered a paper about the background to How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother.
Exhibition view, How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother, at Dutch Centre, London EC2N 2HA
Artist book. Fold out sleeve, thirty-three postcards, bound-in leaflet, black elastic band
Size 148.5 x 105 x 18m, £20
Publication date 31 July 2016
Nicholas Royle (text) and David Gledhill (paintings)
East Germany, the Cold War. A doctor’s daughter experiments with her father’s camera and eavesdrops on his consultations.
In this collaborative publication mixing paintings and fiction, David Gledhill and Nicholas Royle explore ideas around surveillance and observation from the perspective of a young girl during the Stasi period, the visual aspect of the work investigating the boundaries of photography and painting.
The project began when David Gledhill obtained a 1950s East German family album from a Frankfurt flea market and subsequently turned these domestic snapshots into large-scale oil paintings. He then invited Nicholas Royle to collaborate and contribute fiction inspired by the family album paintings.
Michael Caines writing on the Times Literary Supplement blog (30 April 2016), called the book “an eccentric form of ekphrasis.”
Author David Rose (Vault, Posthumous Stories, Meridian) writes, “If you love art and literature, your enjoyment is automatically doubled when both combine. But it is quadrupled when both the art and the text are as fascinating as this. And being set in pre-unification East Germany makes the book enthralling and highly thought-provoking.”
Trim size 148.5 mm x 210 mm
Paperback, PUR bound, with 23 colour paintings
Extent 48 pp
Negative Press London, 10 May 2016
Martin Crawley (author, drawings), John Douglas Millar (afterword)
Placing Stones is a book about friendship and remembrance. In the first publication by London-born artist Martin Crawley, haunting words complement gentle pencil drawings of stones, reproduced here at their physical size. Writer/poet John Douglas Millar contributes a moving afterword.
Adrian Slatcher reviewed Placing Stones for Sabotage Reviews on 4 August 2015.
He writes, “I’m no geologist, but the drawings evoke that sense of discovery you might get from finding an unusual stone on a distant beach or a mountain walk, and in tandem with the elegant verses which seem to be personal memorials, Crawley has created a highly satisfying object that though personal to the artist/poet is surely also intriguing to the accidental reader; a bit like the wanderer who comes across a dedication in an overgrown churchyard.”
Placing Stones from the Negative Press Shop at https://negativepresslondon.bigcartel.com/product/placing-stones-by-martin-crawley
Trim size 120 mm x 180 mm
Paperback, PUR bound, with 15 drawings
Extent 40 pp
Negative Press London, 17 February 2015
Roelof Bakker (photographer), Jane Wildgoose (author)
Strong Room is a collaboration between London-based artists Roelof Bakker and Jane Wildgoose. Photographs of traces of past human activity are used as inspiration for writing about the loss of the tangible experience and the lack of physical presence in the digital world. The historical and academic importance of paper-based archives are explored as well as their potential to prompt the imagination and evoke memories.
Strong Room has been acquired by Chelsea College of Arts Library (London, UK), MoMA Library (New York, USA), Brooklyn Museum (New York, USA), Yale Centre for British Art (Newhaven, USA) and Sydney College of the Arts Library (Sydney, Australia) and is part of the collection of the Library Project, Photo Ireland (Dublin, Ireland).
Strong Room was included in Kaleid 2014, an exhibition of fifty new European artists’ books (Saturday 19 July, Art Academy, London SE1); and in F Book Show, an exhibition of new photography books from the UK (26 March to 13 April 2014, 72 Gallery, Tokyo, Japan) organised by Brighton-based Photobookshow.
Daniel Jewesbury reviewing Strong Room for Source Photographic Review (issue 78), April 2014, states:
“The book captures the passing into irrelevance, or historical curiosity, of the world model, and its simplicity is the key to its power.”
Photographs from the Strong Room series won First Prize (Gold) at the London Photographic Association Still Life 5 competition.
Saddle-stitched paperback with 28 colour photographs, foldback clip
Trim size 210 x 148.5 mm
Extent 48 pp
Negative Press London, 21 January 2014
Still: Short Stories Inspired By Photographs Of Vacated Spaces is the first print publication by Negative Press London.
Edited by Roelof Bakker
Still combines twenty-six new short stories with the photographs that were the inspiration.
Writers were invited by photographer Roelof Bakker to select a photograph from Still, a project exploring vacated interior spaces at Hornsey Town Hall in north London, and to write a story taking the chosen photograph to a new place with a fresh meaning – away from the original physical setting.
Contributing writers are Richard Beard, Andrew Blackman, SJ Butler, Myriam Frey, SL Grey, Tania Hershman, James Higgerson, Justin Hill, Nicholas Hogg, Ava Homa, Aamer Hussein, Nina Killham, Deborah Klaassen, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Claire Massey, Jan Van Mersbergen, Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende, James Miller, Mark Piggott, Mary Rechner, David Rose, Nicholas Royle, Preeta Samarasan, Jan Woolf, Evie Wyld and Xu Xi.
Bookshop Foyles on London’s Charing Cross Road hosted an exhibition of photographs from Still featuring excerpts of related stories (18 September to 30 October 2012).
A Negative Press London/Foyles short story competition was won by Yorkshire writer AJ Ashworth.
Still was runner-up for Best Mixed Anthology in the Saboteur Awards 2013.
‘My Wife, the Hyena’ by Nina Killham is included in the annual anthology The Best British Short Stories 2013 (Salt Publishing).
Sara Baume, The Short Review, 13 November 2013:
‘Perhaps for the first time in my life, I just didn’t have the heart to scribble notes or fold the page’s corners down; Still is simply too attractive and unique a book.’
Sunil Chauhan, literary magazine Wasafiri, issue 76, November 2013:
‘Sharing a tartness of tone, these tales are quizzical, haunting, occasionally abrupt but mostly as teasing as the accompanying images, often concluding with a lingering shot of pain.’
Adrian Slatcher, Sabotage Reviews, 15 April 2013:
‘Still works as whole, with the stories never overwhelming the images but offering a meta-narrative to the whole project… The book itself is a beautiful paperback, clear white paper, great reproductions of the photographs, and a clean design that encourages repeated browsing.’
Paperback with 26 colour photographs
Trim size 210 x 148.5 mm
Extent 190 pp
Negative Press London, 26 September 2012