A few years ago I stumbled upon the work of Gracia & Louise. The Aussie duo create artists books, zines and prints that are full of striking images. I can stare at them for hours and always find something new on each page.
I think this quote by Fiona West, the Senior Curator at Latrobe Regional Gallery, sums up their work perfectly.
“The world of Gracia & Louise is an elaborate fairytale that transcends all logic of time and truth. Images bounce from past to recent, reality to fiction and come together in a perfectly constructed world, rich in narrative and wonder.”
I was lucky enough to ask the lovely ladies a few questions about their work.
How long have you been creating your artist books and zines?
We’ve been making our artists’ books and zines for many a year now. Casting a quick eye over own site, many a year turns out to actually span a decade and a nose. Sometime in the year 2000, we completed our first artists’ book, This morning I went into the garden. Two years after that, on the back of a trip inspiring to Budapest, we made, together with Gaby Bila-Günther, our first zine, Is there any kunst in the house. Things have changed a great deal since these early works of ours, and our footing feels more assured. Recent artists’ books have found us Sleeping during the day, and up in the air with The first aerial travellers. We’ve discovered something we love and are pursuing it still.
Where did the idea to create your books and zines come from?
Bookmaking, working with paper, small editions and the like, these are things that for a long while have interested us. We were drawn to artists’ books because they are something you hold in your hand, and they present a delicious challenge to exhibit. Ours, for the present, are generally smaller than they are large in terms of size, and there are so many possibilities that it is hard not to fall for them, in truth.
What sort of imagery inspires you?
Ideas for our artists’ books and in turn our zines and other small publications come from everywhere and everything. Sometimes it is not so much where the idea comes from that is important to us. Sometimes the reverse is true. Ideas come from films seen, books read, thoughts had, dreams peculiar, conversations overheard. You never know when a good idea will tap you on your shoulder so we’ve found it is best to have pen and paper on standby always.
Our most recent collaborative zine, An even distribution of weight was inspired indirectly by Graeme Murphy’s Romeo & Juliet (which we saw performed twice in the month of September by The Australian Ballet), and later as we cut out the Diana monkey’s form and balanced him atop a circus plinth, Prokofiev played in the background.
As to imagery we are drawn to, it varies though it is safe to say the animal and nature feature near to always.
How would you describe your work?
We enjoy making our work and hope this comes through. This would be how we would describe the paper things we make.
We enjoy the freedom of working with paper, be it collaged postcards, drawings, artists’ books, lithographic offset prints, or zines photocopied, cut-down, glued and editioned. As often we’ve said before, and in fear of repeating ourselves, we are besotted with paper for its adaptable, foldable, cut-able, concealable, revealing nature.
Are there any other artists that inspire you?
Yes, many. Hundreds. From those working in film, to dancers, to those who create music, write prose, paint the canvas. There are so many people whom we admire and stand in awe of their skill, work, and dedication. In the theatre, in the gallery, in the cinema, in the museum, these are our favourite places to be.
Through each of our blogs, Louise’s Elsewhere and Gracia’s High Up in the Trees, we have been fortunate to get to ‘meet’ many great artists and wordsmiths too.
Here are but a few:
…and many others.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this interview Gracia & Louise – especially learning about how Graeme Murphy’s Romeo & Juliet influenced your work. And I’m flattered to be included amongst such a lovely list of people, thank you.
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