Book of the Week: Colour Sparks
Words Mark Hooper
The result of a collaboration with a Spanish tannery, artist Amandine Guruceaga’s unique book is a riot of creativity.
The second recipient of the LVMH Métiers d’Art residency program, the artist Amandine Guruceaga worked in collaboration with the Riba-Guixa tannery in Spain to produce 20 works related to leather-making. Colour Sparks, a beautiful, 168-page soft-cover monograph that comes in a slipcase, reveals the results of this intriguing project.
The book offers a glimpse of her creative process, detailing the six-hour painting performance that took place on the floor of the tannery through a series of ‘living pictures’. The leather spine with hot stamping that gives a nod to the work of the artisans she rubbed shoulders with during her stay, with the artist creating a special leather motif from which each back cover was cut out, making a single original out of each individual copy.
A sculptor and visual artist known for her work in fabric and metal, Guruceaga used the residency to create a range of joint experiments, resulting in the discovery of novel creative processes that the artisans had never previously employed. This included using hides whose surfaces are generally considered too rough for leather goods, combining seemingly disparate colours, hues and levels of transparency, integrating copper, steel and other metals into the tanning process and playing with light.
‘What’s fascinating for me is how she is able to explore and test possibilities with the artisan to create such harmony from very distinctive pigments,’ said art critic Léa Chauvel-Lévy, who oversees the LVMH Métiers d’Art residency programme. Guruceaga herself enthuses about the opportunity to draw on the immense knowledge of the artisans at the tannery, who ‘shared their expertise in working with a material with which they are intimately familiar, while I was able to suggest different ways to use machines they are accustomed to.’
Of course, the final work of art to arise from this unique partnership is the book itself: a physical artefact in itself, the designs seemingly dripping from every page, appearing as 3D as you can achieve from 2D print; a riot of colour and invention and sheer creative spirit.
Colour Sparks by Amadine Guruceaga, €60, RVB Books; rvb-books.com