Exploring appropriation as a creative practice

Sowden, T (2018) Exploring appropriation as a creative practice. In: Turn the Page: Artists Book Symposium, 24 May 2018, The Forum, Norwich, UK.

Official URL: https://www.turnthepage.org.uk/symposium


Within the visual arts, and within music, many artists appropriate the work of others in order to produce original new works. Sometimes this appropriation is explicit and sometimes a little more obscure, a direct reference or a knowing nod. It can be a one off, or only for a short period that some will appropriate the work of other artists. For others, it becomes the backbone of their output and a constant reference to a source is engaged with throughout their career. It becomes their creative practice. Beginning by looking more broadly at those who appropriate others within the arts, I will focus in on the community of book artists who make in reference to the book works of Ed Ruscha from the 1960s and 70s. Since Bruce Nauman produced ‘Burning Small Fires’ in reference to Ruscha’s ‘Various Small Fires’, there have been a steadily growing number of artists who have appropriated Ruscha’s books. And it can be argued that Ruscha himself used the work of others as influence for his own books. These appropriated works have grown in number to the hundreds now and have been represented in large exhibitions such as ‘Ed Ruscha Books & Co’ at Gagosian, in publications such as ‘Various Small Books’ and through the ‘Follow-ed (after hokusai)’ exhibitions I have curated with Michalis Pichler. Although all made with a similar reference point, these appropriated books are often made in isolation without full knowledge of others who are doing the same. The research of Ruscha’s originals is embodied in each of these individual outcomes, but I will argue that it is through the collective act and the bringing together of all of these books, that the work/s gain currency. Strengthening both the originals and those that have come after.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
T Technology > TR Photography
Divisions: Bath School of Art, Film and Media
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2019 14:08
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:51
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/11816
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