So many personal memories are imprinted by books, the places they have imaginatively taken us, and the way in which we may craft our own story from them. Glen Skien’s series of works speak to perceptions that may be informed by the external shape and form of a book. He describes his own “veil of experience” from childhood, a subsequently entrenched habit of looking into the windows of closed bookshops, searching for the “visual discord of poetic associations and imaginings” that provide “a sense of something having been revealed to me”2. His artists’ books are unopenable, despite their loose threads and worn spines that evoke a much-loved read. Dark Horses: A Complete History (2020) uses details to fracture the horse on its cover; the edge-paint is black, and its unknowable interior requires an individual to extract their own associations from the image. It also refers to “a dark horse” as an unknown quantity. Other stacks of loose-leaf pages that are part of Skien’s pivot are similarly enigmatic, poetic juxtapositions of images and text, clues stimulating the imagination while acknowledging the existential nature of the human journey.
Image: Louis Lim. Courtesy of the artist and Onespace Gallery.