On our trip to France in 2006 I bought this book. It was heavy. It was expensive. I’d just seen some of the highlights of the book in a beautifully curated exhibition in a chateau in the Loire. (the photographs were attached to giant hessian (?) banners hanging on an overhead beam).
I just had to have the book. At the time drones hadn’t become quite as accessible (maybe they didn’t exist) so some of the spectacular overhead shots blew me away. The book was written in French (not a problem since I lived in france and did my maitrise in Linguistics in Paris). it was mostly heralding the coming climate crisis and talking about how urgent it was (prescient thinking for 2006, more popular today – and of couse you can go back to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring written in 1962 and probably information in the same vein).
The book was designed to be a diary, so you could see an image each day of the year – i fancied it would sit on a hall table or similar, but if i did ever do that i don’t remember it. mostly it sat in the bookshelf becoming more and more antique and commonplace.
So today I took it apart and began making collage from its much-loved pages. I spent hours sorting the pages into colours (the classifying and coding is a much welcomed thing when I am tired but want to be doing something to do with making art). I now have little brown paper bags filled with Blues and Greens and Greys. But it is my favourite bunch i began with – I called the bag Browns and Towns.
I’m not sure where it will lead, and this piece has already acquired a second layer which makes the original first layer less pretty – but here’s the first layer.