The Spots That Never Went

Highly Commended Finalist 2019 Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing, presented by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

The Spots That Never Went, Roelof Bakker, Negative Press London, AIDS, London, Earls CourtThe Spots That Never Went, Roelof Bakker, Negative Press London, AIDS, London, Earls Court

The Spots That Never Went: tabloid and broadsheet newspapers inside an archival pocket

The Spots That Never Went, Roelof Bakker, Negative Press London, AIDS, London, Earls Court

 

 

The Spots That Never Went (Negative Press London, 2018) is as an artist’s book which was subsequently reinterpreted as an exhibition with new work developed in response to the publication. The project addresses the devastation of AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s and highlights how the AIDS crisis continues to impact on a generation of gay men and their friends and families.

The second edition of The Spots That Never Went is available from the Negative Press London shop at https://negativepresslondon.bigcartel.com/product/the-spots-that-never-went

Spots explores personal memories of past friends and lovers and of a gay scene, now gone. Memories are expressed in single sentences, each starting with ‘I remember a time’, like ‘I remember a time when the police raided bars and clubs wearing decontamination suits and gloves’, and ‘I remember a time when I was young and other young men got ill and soon after they died.’

The book is also an investigation into the potential of a single image to illustrate an entire publication. Here halftone fragments of one Polaroid photograph become images in their own right as the distance between original photograph and copy is widened.

The artist’s book is presented as a tabloid newspaper with a separate broadsheet print, both contained inside a clear archival polypropylene pocket with black dot sticker to exterior.

The book was Highly-Commended Finalist at the 2019 Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing, announced at the 2019 Melbourne Art Book Fair (15-17 March 2019), presented by the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia. It was included in the group show, Print: A Catalyst for Social Change, Bury Art Museum, Bury BL9 0DR (9 February-27 April 2019) and was selected for Salon 18, Photofusion London’s annual members’ show (7 December 2018 to 12 January 2019).

Sarah Bodman from the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), UWE Bristol, picked it as one of ten artists’ books of 2018. She writes, ‘It’s a brutally simple, heartbreaking thing – we need to read more books like this.’ https://www.a-n.co.uk/news/artists-books-2018-10-of-the-best-from-irreverent-fun-to-brutal-heartbreak/

Spots has been purchased by a number of collections, including the Wellcome Foundation Library, London and the Artists’ Book Collection at the Bavarian State Library, Munich, Germany.

A solo exhibition of new work responding to the publication and developed during a residency at Cambridge Artworks with support from Becky Warnock and Anthony Luvera at Photofusion, London, took place during Gay History Month at Cambridge Artspace, Cambridge CB4 3EF (15 and 16 February 2020) and included Feeling Down (What Have I Done), a performative work, in which Bakker recites a text while dancing with eyes closed, remembering disco dancing with an ex-partner who died of AIDS aged twenty-five.

During the Cambridge Artworks residency, Bakker conducted a work-in-progress talk with MA Fine Art and Printmaking students from Cambridge School of Art, with thanks to Veronique Chance and Cambridge Artworks.

An article, ‘The Spots at Never Went, the creative processes and thinking behind the making of an artist’s book’ appears in The Blue Notebook journal, Vol 14, No.2, Spring-Summer 2020 (Bristol: Impact Press at the Centre for Fine Print Research, UWE Bristol). http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/blue-notebook/

The Spots That Never Went, Roelof Bakker, Artspace, Cambridge, UK, exhibition,performance, artist’s book

Exhibition view: ‘The Spots That Never Went’, Spectra Polaroid, elastic band

The Spots That Never Went, Roelof Bakker, Artspace, Cambridge, UK, exhibition,performance, artist’s book

Exhibition view, from left: ‘Spots (Subversion I)’, Xerox print; ‘So Many Men So Little Time’, paper plate, eyelets, elastic band; ‘The Spots That Never Went’, Spectra Polaroid, elastic band

The Spots That Never Went, Roelof Bakker, AIDS, Cambridge Artworks, Gay History Month February 2020

Exhibition view: performance of ‘Feeling Down (What Have I Done)’

The Spots That Never Went, Roelof Bakker, AIDS, Cambridge Artworks, Gay History Month February 2020

‘Some Are Here and Some Are Missing’, print on canvas; ‘Spots’ (Subversion III)’, Xerox print

The Spots That Never Went, Roelof Bakker, AIDS, Cambridge Artworks, Gay History Month February 2020

Exhibition view, from left: ‘Spots (Subversion II)’, Xerox print; ‘Paradise The Morning After’, Xerox print; ‘Falling’, Polaroid print, C-type digital print, elastic band; ‘I remember a time when the police raided bars and clubs wearing decontamination suits and gloves’, Xerox print; ‘Spots (Subversion I)’, Xerox print; ‘So Many Men So Little Time’, paper plate, eyelets, elastic band

The Spots That Never Went, Roelof Bakker, AIDS, Cambridge Artworks, Gay History Month February 2020

Exhibition view: desk with artist’s book, two apples; on wall ‘Forbidden Fruit (Queer)’, Xerox print

The Spots That Never Went, Roelof Bakker, AIDS, Cambridge Artworks, Gay History Month February 2020

‘Some Are Here and Some Are Missing’, print on canvas