Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art
Jim Holyoak. Book of Nineteen Nocturnes. Artists’ book, 2017
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Book of Nineteen Nocturnes is a 500-page-long, hand-drawn and assembled artist’s book, 17 years in the making. Each of its 19 chapters is hand bound as an individual accordion book containing graphite drawings, watercolours, ink paintings, ink-jet prints and collaged text. Both the text and images were developed while traveling (often trekking) and attending residencies throughout Nordic Europe, Canada, the Himalayas and China. Although the story and its setting are fictional, both were heavily inspired by life in these places: the animals and vegetation, the landscapes and skies, and the shifts in weather and lighting. Echoing the genres of painterly and musical nocturne, the book is driven by its ambient, nighttime setting – a realm populated by wandering monsters. It is about being lost, lonely and homesick. While reminiscent of a graphic novel or an illustrated fairytale, the book is also akin to an illuminated manuscript or a grimoire.