Ken Campbell

Tilt: the black-flagged streets

Ken Campbell

Tilt: the black-flagged streets

Date

1988

Edition Size

80

Media

Letterpress

Binding

Cloth case, Hand-sewn

Dimensions

12 × 9 in

Pages

62

$ 2,800.00

1 in stock


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Tilt‘ was the widest-cast net so far, bringing the most disparate things together. I wrote a poem called ‘Storm Song’ in Canada in 1981, after listening to a sung account of a maritime disaster on one of the Great Lakes (The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, I think it was). I also had in mind the vertiginous steps of flagstones up to the old cathedral at Whitby and the black flag of anarchy and disturbance. I had found some old mounted lino blocks which were random-sized squares, black flags of different sizes, and some Albertus type, rather beaten up.

While in Zürich I walked into the Museum Rietberg and up to a statue of Shiva, with limbs hanging out in funny angles, and lightning in his/her hair, all in a big wheel of fire. I can remember the statue saying to me, ‘I’m coming into your book.’ I thought, what the hell has Shiva got to do with this book about a ‘Storm Song’ and the Whitby steps and black flags? And I thought, well, I’ll do as I’m told, as ever. The following morning at breakfast I drew the figure of Shiva, with breasts, and realised it was a puppet that I was going to dismantle. I made a puppet out of zinc pieces; it is disassembled from the right-hand page by repeatedly having a piece of its body nominated by a decorative silver star. Each piece is removed and replaced on the left-hand page. Alongside this cycle of nomination, removal and redisposition, the poem accumulates line by line. In this way Shiva is removed from the wheel of fire of the material world on the right, and repositioned and rebuilt in a calmer place on the left.

I also discovered, as an act of necessity, an odd process which I have called offset letterpress. To enable a previously printed coloured element to show better through a recently-applied dark solid, I immediately ran the wet page through the press again after having wiped the solid plate clean. This removed ink from where it sat on the underlying image but not from where it was sitting in the virgin paper.
— Ken Campbell

Letterpress composed of Albertus type, found lino blocks, and handmade zinc blocks. Many passes including metallic dusting and handwork. Black cloth binding with decorative paper boards in trapezoid shape. Printed slipcase.