Penelope Thompson: Installation Art -'Books 06'

photo of installation art - electric lights shining from within the pages of a book -'The Book of Bright Ideas', 2006
Penelope Thompson is an Australian contemporary artist working internationally. Her work includes outdoor and indoor installation art, performance art, and interactive community artevents.

'The Book of Bright Ideas', Books '06 exhibition

In June 2006, the artist was invited to contribute to the annual "artists' book" exhibition, Books '06 , held at the Noosa Regional Gallery in Queensland, Australia. Penelope contributed another artists' book to the 'Books 07' exhibition in August/September, 2007. You can see the photos and video of this very unusual artist's book here: Penelope's art blog - 'Treasure', 2007 - an artist's book.

Artists' Books

Artists' books (also called bookworks) are a growing field of visual art, reflecting the longstanding link between literature and the visual arts, and the narrative or autobiographical nature of visual art. Artists have frequently kept diaries, visual or otherwise, and have been inspired in their visual artwork by literary works.Likewise books have often been precious objects of beauty and good design.
An 'artists' book' you are likely to see in an exhibition may be a practical 'book-like' object or an imaginative creation only loosely related to the notion of a book. Artists' books are not books about art, they are art expressed in a book form.
You can see more examples of artists' books by other artists at the State Library of Queensland artists' books website.

'The Book of Bright Ideas'

The exhibition title was "Books 06, 10 + beyond", in reference to 2006 being the 10th anniversary of the artists' books exhibition at Noosa Regional Gallery, Queensland Australia. Penelope Thompson's book is called:
'The Book of Bright Ideas'.

The artist's inspiration

"About 10 years ago when I was living in Adelaide, South Australia, I had a sudden vision of the swirling energy patterns of unmanifested ideas and forms beyond the blank pages of a notebook. Nowadays I live in Korea, and this book is my memory of that special experience. In this artists' book I wanted to express the idea of the spiritual inspiration and energy that is behind all creative work."

Construction and materials

The book is constructed out of a large, ordinary hardback book, and a string of 120 electric 'fairy' lights. It was a painstaking job to carefully glue 241 pages together to form three solid 1cm thick 'pages'. I then cut out the central cavities of each 'page', and then installed strings of lights inside of each. All the electric wiring had to be carefully inserted in the spine of the book so it would not bend or break when the book was opened. The book can be plugged into a 240 volt electrical supply and the lights can be programmed to change their speed and pattern of flashing.
posted 29/05/2007 by Penelope Thompson

Some more of Penelope's installation art events

posted 13/08/2009 by Penelope Thompson
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action Martha Graham.