COCKRAM Mark (2013)


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Unique. Buried book with 23.5 ct gold leaf inclusions. 15cm x 20cm.

In 2009, Cockram was invited to take part in an Southbank (London) art festival called Pestival. Cockram was intrigued by the opportunity to engage with a natural enemy of the book: insects. What would happen if he buried a book in the ground and let nature take over? Cockram buried one of his used sketchbooks (he makes his own) in a friend's garden. Digging it up weeks later revealed a book-shaped object, the pages and much of the binding eaten away by insects. The "damage" highlighted the organic nature of the materials Cockram used to make the book. The result was also very beautiful. It was the beginning, a jumping-off place for his own book art.

Bookbinding is about control, precision, and deliberation. Burying a book is the opposite. There is no control. The book goes into the earth. There are different soils and climates. The amount of time in the ground can vary. The results are unpredictable. Cockram, a very deliberate artist, embraced the loss of control. For him, it was a cathartic and inspiring experience. He began to experiment. One buried book became part of his installation piece Through the Looking Glass now in the collection of the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Cockram's students come from all over the world. When it was time for them to go home, he would give a student an old sketchbook of his and ask them to bury the book for him, leave it for a while, dig it up and send it back to him.

This book, Kintsugi, was buried in Bankok. Cockram says, "As it dried out large cracks and stress points began to appear. At first I was a bit miffed, but that is the way things go. As the cracks began to stabilise I looked on them not as a disaster, [but] more what we in the trade call 'A design opportunity.'"

Stock Code: 227581

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