Books On Books Collection – Nif Hodgson

Fluid Horizons (2021)

Fluid Horizons (2021)
Nif Hodgson
Slipcase. Modified dragon-scale concertina. Slipcase: H91 x W158 mm. Book: H90 x W156 mm, 20 panels. Variable edition of 10, of which this is #1. Acquired from 23 Sandy Gallery, 2 September 2021.
Photos of the work: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with artist’s permission.

The opportunity to add another dragon-scale binding (see Rutherford Witthus and Zhang Xiaodong below) to the collection would have been incentive enough. The binding of Fluid Horizons is not, however, the usual dragon-scale binding as applied to multi-leaved scrolls. It comprises an effective accordion spine with leaves attached to the inside folds. What made Fluid Horizons irresistible is the effect the structure achieves with the unusual technique and material: screenprint and archival pigment ink on Arista II transparency film, Duralar polyester film and Lexan polycarbonate film.

Each book in an edition varies because its twenty images are selected from hundreds of photographs taken by Hodgson with the same horizon-dimension. Although not in sequence, each image influences the selection of the next, which creates a sense of progression. With the gradation of light and transparency across the selection, the sense of progression increases. But it is not a “film-like” progression of images, or snapshots taken one after another in sequence. Like memory and our sense of time, on which this work meditates, the progression is a fragile reconstruction. The transparent materials, expandable accordion spine and fluttering panels reflect the ephemeral, flexible and fragmentary way in which memory is shaped while also being affected by perception in the moment.

There is a further material ephemerality to the work. The panel surface is delicate, subject to dissolving from contact with moisture, smudging from fingers and scratching from grit. As Hodgson puts it, “the sensitive materials lightly wear with viewing and play, just as memory faintly fogs with time and recollection”. Fluid Horizons is a stunning union of form and metaphor.

Further Reading

Rutherford Witthus“. Books On Books Collection. 27 October 2021.

Zhang Xiaodong“. Books On Books Collection. 1 December 2019.

Chinnery, Colin. “Whirlwind binding (xuanfeng zhuang)“. The International Dunhuang Project. Site last revised: September 2016. Accessed 21 October 2021.

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