Friday, 23 February 2007

Kings Cross, artist's book by Peter Chasseaud (2004)

Kings Cross
An artist's book by Peter Chasseaud

First shown at the London Artists Book Fair at the ICA, November 2004

An important, unique poetic production exploring the area’s visual, cultural and historical complexity at a time of massive civil engineering works not seen here since the original building of the railways and their termini

In 2003-4 Peter Chasseaud worked on a related set of visual (drawn, painted, photographic) images of the landscape of the Kings Cross railway land, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) works and the new terminal at St Pancras. This documentation project explored the visual and historical/archaeological complexity of the area at a time of massive civil engineering work unprecedented in the area since the original building of the railways and their termini.

The artist's book, an important component of his project, focuses on Kings Cross Station, its neighbour St Pancras, and its hinterland and local community, and is a personal response to the station, its history, its situation in the urban landscape and its place in the regeneration of the area (including the CTRL and Railway Land construction work to the west and north of the station).

A concept piece, the book engages its subject on many levels and from many angles, through the visual medium of photographic imagery with associated text. Implicitly designating Kings Cross Station and integral ‘Railway Land’ a ‘site of special artistic interest’ – indeed a piece of living sculpture - it examines the fabric, texture and meaning of the landscape, from its component bricks to birds-eye-overviews which include the houses, businesses and people of the local community.

The book incorporates a 2,000-word prose-poem text and photographic images by the artist/author, who has been exploring and taking photos of the station and area since 1959, and also uses other imagery including aerial photographs (some going back to the early 1920s) and a still from the 1955 film The Ladykillers, starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, which was shot in the Kings Cross railway environment.

It is in a large-format, grey cloth, case-bound limited edition, portrait-format 18 x 15 inches (45 x 38 cm), with map end-papers of the Kings Cross area, fold-out, double-sides pages containing the text and 21 half-tone images, and a print-run of only 50 copies, each one signed and numbered. It is lithographically printed on archival 310 gsm Somerset tub-sized satin paper. It is priced at £500.

1 comment:

Joshua Warren said...

I read this one whilst I was doing some research in the British Library. A tour de force.