SIGNIFICANT BOOKS....

Last weekend I went to Tarra Warra Museum of Art in Healesville to see the 2012 Archibald Prize. I had never been to the museum before and it was a lovely day spent in a very pretty part of Victoria. The museum itself is a modern building with views of the surrounding countryside and mountains in the distance.
I will freely admit I don't know a lot about art. I enjoy looking at it and I marvel at the creativity involved. And this was no exception. I found myself asking questions such as 'why did the artist portray the person this way?' 'Why this art form?' 'Who is the influence behind this work?'

(And some of the conversations you overhear are amazing but I digress)

One painting that stopped me in my tracks was the self portait by Robin Eley ( you can view it here). Not only was it arresting on so many levels but he had set the portrait in 13 shapes, deconstructed the whole into these smaller parts. Ten of these were books that he had custom bound for the purpose and each of these books had been selected for its significance to either his Australian or Chinese culture.


Using books in art is by no way new but the thought of using significant books made me pause. If I had to choose 10 books that meant something to me, what would I choose? How would I choose them?

Would they be books that I read in my childhood that stayed with me for years such as The Call of the Wild? Would they be classics that I read and reread (thinking of my daughter and her most loved classic that she has read over 25 times). Would it be a contemporary piece where I have marvelled at the language and the writing? Would it be a piece that brought back memories, places I have lived, places I have travelled?

The more I thought about it the more difficult it became. I really have no idea what ten books I would choose. However I do know there would have to be an Agatha Christie in there somewhere. Why?
My mother was a huge crime fiction fan, and I grew up watching Homicide, The Rockford Files and the rain-coated Columbo. She had me reading all the 'golden era' of crime writer.... Christie and Dame Ngaio Marsh, Conan Doyle and Arthur Upfield.

I have all of her crime books, all of her Agatha Christies, all her Marsh and Upfields....for me it was one way of staying in contact with her. So one of my 10 books would have to be an Agatha...and I think I would choose Poirot's last book.....


But the other nine....hmmmmmm.......this could lead to a very interesting discussion.

What would be your top ten? And more interestingly, why?



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