However, any enquiries regarding purchase should be addressed to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Patrick Hughes' website is www.patrickhughes.co.uk
Description of work
'Using crayons - crayons are used here to create a sort of faceted blackness. We want to give chaos a structure. We think Tristram Shandy is very good at that.'
Description of work
'Using glue, and a photocopy of two pages - including the Black Page - of the first French edition of Tristram Shandy; because I like to think that the art of the novel is an art of collage; and that it is impossible to reproduce anything truly, including a simple black page. Everything is home-made.'
'Using Black Pen and Magic Marker - it seemed to be the thing to do at the time.'
'Using pen and ink (Rotring isograph .25) because being fascinated by the technical skill and elegance of 18th & 19th c. engravers, I decided to draw the Black Page as a homage to them. Closely crosshatched engraved lines were used to describe the darkest tones in an image, for which I substituted pen lines in ink. I knew it would be more or less boring, but "I can be as anal as the next man," I boasted to myself. I tried to observe my surface feelings with yogic detachment.
Initial excitement at the concept and minor technical hurdles gave way to workmanlike pride which slid into irritation and self-doubt at my initial decision. Should it have been a bold single brushstroke applied with Whistleresque mastery?
Eventually the inanity and tedium of laying one line as close as possible to the last crushed my impotent fury and I became a slave to the process. My concentration seemed to increase and there were even flashes of a sort of pleasure - emanating I suppose from the most perverse part of my psyche.
Nearing the end I wondered - what if I died immediately on finishing the last line? Would it be a fitting or even hilarious epitaph and elegy to my work?
Would it engender general pity and esteem ---- would passersby, stopping to cast a look at it walk on and sigh,
'Using black and white ink because the black page is intended to mourn (Alas!) Poor Yorick, so it's only right (and RITE) to add a layer or two and show his funeral, the funeral director and a BEREFT HORSE. Isn't it?'
'Using charcoal pencil because it gives a lovely soft, velvety black but with some texture - it is not completely black. I liked the idea that it could resemble a slab of black granite as tombstone.'
'Using black paper mate pen
Description of work
'Using carbon paper reversed in the rollers
We borrowed a Remington typewriter from John Dowling in Clonmel, not far from the West Gate, near where Sterne was born.'
'Using every line in Tristram Shandy that contains all or part of the name "Yorick", with volume & page noted in the margins. Thank you to William Harris, Prof Em. Middlesbury College, for his high-fidelity PDF rendering of the third (Volumes 1&2) and first (3-9) editions.
An event such as Yorick's death is aptly marked by visual silence, in which we might want to reflect on his life. As a fictional character life flows from type lines, so this might serve as a summary, eulogy, index. Perhaps a scholar can gain a new perspective by straining at this textual deformation, or by noticing the uneven distribution. And as far as the typographic colour of a page goes, this one's pretty black...'
'Using printing ink, Zerkall paper and inky fingers because I am mostly a printmaker and so wanted to make a print! I wanted the simplest and most direct image & so I used my fingers. I had to use a smooth paper rather than the laid paper provided in order to make clean prints & so then the resulting plate had to be tipped in to the space provided. I had great fun making many small inky images but liked this one the best.'
'Using satin, polyester thread, fablon because of the funereal qualities of black satin and the facility to create a 'flatline' by removing threads from the fabric. This makes a fault or pull that would normally render the fabric unusable, like a ladder in a stocking or a pair of breeches. Behind the fabric is a glossy black rectangle or even deeper blackness. Materials were purchased in North Yorkshire and New York City. The piece was made in Harrisburg and Philidelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, in August 2009.'
'Using nib pen and india ink because Laurence Sterne surely wrote with a similar pen (though made of feather, not metal). To make this black page I tried to slowly fill it with lines drawn back and forth down the page - mimicking the movement of a writing pen or, indeed, a reading eye. However under the influence of L.S., I found I kept going into loopy zigzaggy digressions. If you look closely you will see layers of straight lines constantly undermined and complicated by random unruly arabesques.'
'Using a section cut from the black cardboard containing a copy of page 73 with the blank area representing the shape of Yorick's tombstone because I was asked to fill it in somehow by the present incumbent of Shandy Hall.'
'Using pen and ink because ink never produces an even blackness and is therefore closer to most of our experiences of blackness.'
'Using Black Indian Ink because I wanted to make an image using chance, which for me can be equated with the marbled page found in T.S. My ink spot which I created by dropping ink from a brush held at height over the page, refers to an artwork I have previously produced: ' Full Stop (The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman) . For this work I photographed the final full stop from a first edition copy of TS, through a microscope and blew it up to an enormous scale. Laurence Sterne playfully used punctuation throughout TS, and the black ink visible in my photograph moves in unregulated form and density throughout the paper. In place of the clear, circular contours of the full stop, there is a stain, the product of chance and a disturbing factor within the traditional regulations of image and visibility. Similar to a Rorschach test, the enlarged inkblot gives space for free association. '
'Using soot from a candle because, while '. . . in every sound man's head, there is a regular succession of ideas of one sort or another, which follow each other in train. . . just like the images in the inside of a lanthorn turned round by the heat of a candle.' (Vol III Ch. 18), a black page might better suggest ' . . . ideas whirling round and round about . . . all obfuscated and darkened over with fuliginous matter.' (Vol III Ch. 19)
'Using a typewriter spool, a pair of scissors and a Muji 5mm pen because they are my favourite writing tools.
(The whole is a homage to BS Johnson, one of Sterne's many heirs.)'
'Using a wood engraving block because it is the last illustration in the Folio Society's edition of 'Tristram Shandy' & is of Walter Shandy's bull who has sadly failed in his duties. I inked up the block & overprinted it eight times using three different blacks - Ivy, Midnight & Seville. 'A COCK & a BULL, said Yorick - and one of the best of its kind I ever heard.' I also enclose the actual engraving printed once.'
'Using Winsor and Newton Mars Black Acrylic because it would give me a matt black rectangle. The rectangle, the same size as that on page 73 of the original edition of Laurence Sterne's 'Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman' was printed onto paper. This in turn has been made into a photographic slide and then projected onto the blank rectangle provided. Light is used to provide black while a secondary reference to life and death is suggested by our capacity to turn electricity ON and OFF - we even talk about 'killing' the power. Black or the sensation of darkness is a conscious experience. Black is associated with death but has no more to do with it than any other colour, thing or thought. 2009'
'Rorschach blot using Jet, that has been ground to a powder and made into ink. Jet (fossilised wood from the Monkey Puzzle tree) is primarily known for two things, for its blackness and for its use in mourning jewellery. It has many lesser-known associations. Powdered jet added to water or wine was believed to have medicinal powers. In contemporary metaphysics it has been said that jet can be used to dispel fearful thoughts as well as protect the wearer against illness and violence. It is said to be a calming agent, providing diminishment of depression. Jet has also been known as black amber, as it may induce an electric charge like that of amber when rubbed.'
'Using carbon paper and the letter S on an hermes baby with a french keyboard because
spirit, the freest
spirit, the most liberated
seiz'd her hand
'Using IBM Selectric, 12pt Letter Gothic
An homage to Charles Bernstein's book VEIL, with its suggestion of mourning veils for the death of a (typographic) character, seemed in order.'
This printed 'blackness' is from a paperback edition of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, (Penguin Books, London, 1967; 1988 reprint). In this version the black page falls on page 61. The collage, measuring 114 x 69mm, is cut to fit from the centre of the 'text area' 145 x 88mm. The poor quality paper of this edition has discoloured considerably in the twenty or so years since it came off the press, however, in this 'detail' of the page, any optical deterioration is obscured by the density of ink.'
'Using watercolour because I wanted to suggest that there is no black, no single black - only a set of changing tones and colours. A multicolour rather than a singular view. A landscape of light and shade on the page.'
'Using ink, acrylic & enamel paint, 8mm celluloid film and pencil because the background black is a double darkness, ink (marking out but then obliterating two names) covered over with an acrylic found in my mother's old painting box. As a further layer, I have added the enamelled portcullis logo of Strong & Co. of Romsey, the brewery that employed my father for all his working life. My mother also worked there with him in their later years. The side chains of the portcullis are made of 8mm film. These almost black strips in fact contain a whole world of light - the final filmed images of my father, parking his (company) car in the drive of the home where I grew up, and which was then sold after he died in 1976. My mother died just four years later. Each film/chain forms a continuous loop on the reverse of the black page. The slogan 'You're in the Strong Country' accompanies the logo. As with a tombstone, where the words tend to weather away, the text here is similarly frail. The typeface mimics chiselling but the letters are laid on as a mere pencil sheen.'
'Using full stops cut from an Oxford World Classics copy of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman because : alas it is the end for poor Yorick.'
'Using a bottle of black nail polish, a black felt pen, and a kitchen skewer because these were good everyday materials. The wide-nibbed black felt pen was used for an undercoating and the black nail polish for a visible varnish. Into the varnish I incised with a small meat skewer the opening words of my translation of Paul Celan's Death Fugue (black/milk/of/morning) in which the English presents a double meaning and metaphor that the German doesn't allow. This permitted me to pay homage simultaneously to Sterne and Celan. The bleeding of the finished page was also intentional.'
'Using all the "words to this purpose, though somewhat better put together" in Chapter XII, Volume I of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.'
1) Derwent 7B pencil
3) Charcoal (probably Alder)
4) Ash from a saucisson's skin
because:- the seven word sentence which comprises this piece uses four words.'
Description of work
'Using cut and torn paper and string because I am poor talentless and desperate. I make mess of everything as I try to keep the blank as well as accept the blackness.
Page 73 The ultimate text A Terminal text A text of termination Black all those denotations connotations presences annotations in the [my] mind Black it IN? Black it OUT?
'By using several layers of red, green, brown, blue, yellow and purple, I hoped to absorb as much light as possible and make a black - without using any black at all. Some of the layers have been left visible at its edges to give a vibrancy to what I hope appears to be a black void.'
'Using Quink Permanent Black Ink (130 lines) drawn with dip pen.
Copperplate (68x113mm) relief printed with Super Black Letterpress Ink.
Stencil (50x82mm) printed with Super Black Letterpress Ink.
Elspeth Barker's Raven Black Hair (29 strands), woven.
Carbonized Black Rook Feather Powder, flocked.
Carbonized Bat Powder, flocked -
1. I wanted the fine lines of black ink to interact with the lines of the laid paper and establish the grounding of black as a literary page.
2. I wanted to work with the Black Art of printing - copperplate and letterpress - to make reference to this essential process of book publishing
3. I needed the thick layer of printing ink to achieve a different, contrasting texture of black, one that overruled the black surface so far achieved and which acted as a central sticky trap.
4. I wanted to weave and enmesh Elspeth Barker's raven hair into the central area of my page as she had become woven into my narrative in conceiving this Black Page. It happened thus: on receiveing my Black Page template in Yorkshire, I drove on down to North Norfolk. Arriving at Elspeth's home, I parked beside her Mercedes just as a thunderstorm began. Dark voluminous clouded sky, the heavens opened thick with hail and I heard a pitter-patter-clatter coming into my car. It was hailing onto the very envelope holding my Black Page template. In consternation, I carefully dried it, and later, emerging from my car I spied on the front seat of the Mercedes a copy of Tristram Shandy: Elspeth's car-side reading. I was struck. I knew that she and her raven black hair were to be woven into the making of my Black Page. Elspeth's first husband was a jackdaw who tragically died.
5. As the Black Page evolved in my mind, so corvine feathers and bats became further elements in the blackening narrative of its making. During the dry weather in June rooks had flocked down to the Yarrow to roost. As they slept, bats flew. Upon returning home to Yarrow from Norfolk there were a few dead bats in the Mill where I live. Having flung them out, I realized how they and the rooks could be part of this Black Page. I placed rook feathers and two dead bats into the stove oven overnight and carbonized them. I then pounded them separately with pestle and mortar. Dust to dust I was struck how each, in transformation, had retained its essence, and inter-wove them as a final raised flock on my Black Page.
Alas, poor CORVIC!'
'Using an anonymous rollerball gel pen because my lovely fine-nibbed Waterman fountain pen would not allow me to write small enough to fit my poem on the page. I like this rollerball, which has no markings on it whatsoever and was found in the pocket of an old coat. My mother had nightmares as a child because in the pockets of her father's old Great Coat, which hung on the back of her door, she could feel the bones of soldiers who had died in the Trenches. When, finally, she plucked up the courage to look, she found her father's pipe and a pen.'