One + Eleven = Two

Cambridge - 25th January 2007

One + eleven = two was begun on 25th January 2007 and was completed that June. The idea was to make a daily record of my thoughts, by planting marks and drawings on each of the 10,000 pages of a redundant Encyclopedia Britannica. The daily process consisted of drawing from life, or from images or by reflection on memories of the sounds, the smells of things I have touched and been touched by. All the mark-making territories I could conceive of were explored: Arabic script, pattern, collage, geometrical forms, monoprint, cutting through the page, sanding and tearing the surface of the paper, drawing with my “wrong” hand, or upside down, and deliberately using a variety of inks, oils, pencils, wax and solvent to soak through or make the paper translucent.

Volume by volume, each page presented itself as a space to react against and play with, and gradu ally the palimpsest of bleed-marks from my work on the adjacent page, texts, illustrations and newly applied marks, created a fusion of heart-beat and “mind-beat”. One idea might live for a short time through one, two or three drawings, only to revive a few weeks later; another could create an unstoppable sequence, or sequences and then vanish, never to return.

The story that you “read” here is pulled, by two energies, the one formed by tracing images parallel to the alphabetised knowledge, the other, the ‘actual’ sequence of thought conveyed horizontally across the volumes. The name that came to me – One + eleven = two is my response to the unexpected vertical distance between successive images.