Book Arts Newsletter No35
Louise Levergneux's artist’s book City Shields, documents downcast pedestrian observations of manhole covers that plot an urban trajectory, a road trip as the artist perambulates through American, Canadian and Scottish cities.
The full colour, mainly round die-cut photographs induce musings on the underworld, the lower dimension beneath the street, walking a line between above and below and an urge like Orpheus's to look back to view certain passing pedestrians. These street fixtures with cast patterns and texts narrate municipal departments, seductive to those of a typographic disposition. Some of the covers incorporate grilles, portals to hidden highway depths, pipes and sewers and perhaps a darker reverie.
Louise Levergneux has created a collection akin to archaeological artifacts, contained as a pack of cards so that the viewer can literally or metaphorically shuffle between the various covers scrutinising pattern in relief and imagining recessed and flush surfaces between iron and asphalt.
Beside Me is an artists' book featuring a collection of dogs and their owners with a provision for viewing by dogs; half the pages are printed in a blue tint to enable dichromatic canine vision. In this publication Louise Levergneux has compiled photographic groupings of dogs and their owners. This book extends a consistent theme, storing, examining and archiving personal recollection and histories with a biographical premise.
As well as promoting “team effort"—Beside Me seems to provoke questions regarding the psychological nature and reasons for archiving and collecting. The pet dogs in the book could be seen to represent a classification somewhere in between people and objects and therefore more easily subjectively serialised and catalogued.
In Windows of the Soul photographic fragments of portraiture present the eyes of subjects who all “require spectacles to see with clarity.” The reader views one person per page through superimposed optician's random letter test charts; the letterform characters being in or out of focus according to the individuals level of defective sight.
In this book Louise Levergneux reminds the reader of how ones perceptions of the world may change through artificial lenses, bringing to mind the convenient adage of observing with rose tinted vision. In Windows of the Soul, the artist requires reflection on the significance of reading through and from the eyes.
Guy Begbie, Book Arts Co-ordinator, Herefordshire College of Art and Design