Fine Arts Unternehnem Books in collaboration with ARTRA, is pleased to present the new book by Jemima Stehli (born 1961) and John Hilliard (born 1945) are artists both living and working in London. Between 2001 and 2003 they produced a series of collaborative photographic works that are the subject of this book, contextualised by related pieces made individually both before and after the collaboration. The book includes texts by Mark Frances, Simon Beker and Giorgio Verzotti.
Collaboration recording its own condition (2 interviews, 1 editor).
[excertp from the book]
When I first asked about making a work J. seemed resistant to the idea, to the point where I became more and more intrigued about the possibility of doing it. There was a long process of discussion and it took a year before we had a proper conversation about it, and then we spent a day together where s/he really questioned me about what I wanted to do and I convinced J. that it was a good idea.
The initiative for the collaboration was definitely coming from the other direction. I can’t imagine embarking on the collaboration for my own reasons, and in fact I was quite resistant to the idea when it was first proposed, and it took about a year of persuasion and mentioning it every time we saw one another, and eventually we had a meeting and we had a discussion about it and we did some preliminary drawings to draft out ideas and that’s how it started: the agreement was that we would try something together and see how it went, and in the event it went quite well and we decided to continue.
In those very first discussions s/he immediately took it to a level that I wasn’t expecting. That was quite challenging because although I’ve played around with ideas of collaboration or, rather, implication (putting somebody else in my work, or getting them to play a role), I’d never actually made a collaboration. Collaboration, in a way, was very hard to contain within the ways that I’d set up of understanding what I was doing in my own practice.
The most difficult thing was to get over that first hurdle of accepting the reality of working collaboratively with someone else and relinquishing a lot of what I call my authorial decisions. I was no longer the sole author. I was the co-author and I wasn’t used to sharing. I wasn’t used to that. I work in more of a kind of selfish way, so that was one hurdle to get over, but clearly I did get over that hurdle, and was very comfortable having made that move. The second thing was really that approach to a way of working but I think that again once I’d conditioned myself to a rather more fluid approach to making decisions about how work would progress, again I became quite comfortable with that.
It was hard to deal with those things because of the way that s/he structured things so carefully. So even though I could see the photograph happening, if I wasn’t quite happy it was hard to affect that. Although that changed over the course of the collaboration and, in fact, (the) one of those works that I like out of that series is the one with the shadow across the card: that was the one where I said, just leave it, and it happened and I liked it, because for me the photograph is about what happens in that moment of taking the photograph. So if something’s overly structured beforehand it doesn’t do that for me. I want the photograph to be the moment where something appears.
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Arguments Jemima Stehli / John Hilliard
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27 x 32,5 cm (hard cover)
ISBN 13: 978-3-03720-014-8