This is a very good document of Karla Black’s work. ‘There Can Be No Arguments’, 2008, is an amorphous construction of polythene, chalk dust and thread—a twisted bundle of plastic of variable dimensions, floating through a gallery like so much post-industrial ectoplasm. Being in the room with this work you feel you would have to give it space, inch your way around, approach with caution. Other works occupy gallery floors, pushing visitors to the margins. The images in the book similarly take up the available space, bleeding to the edges of the big pages. There’s an index of works which gives you a cut-out image of each piece, isolating the scuptural elements in a way which somehow underlines their relationship to the spaces they define. The design of the book is apparent but not obstrusive, the art within taking priority. There’s a splash on the back cover and a smudge in the corner of the front, with Karla Black’s name in big pink letters.
Tucked into the back on a smaller page is a text detailing the current drifts in handbag fashion as documented in the celebrity press. It ends with a brief manifesto of the artist’s priorities, the last of which is ‘I want the lived life to be primary not the looked-at image’. Black leaves the reader with the question of how much her approach is governed by her gender. ‘Since I cannot tell, it will have to be my secret,’ she teases.
Martin Vincent is a writer and publisher