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About the Work

When I left the Slade I took a part-time teaching job at Reading University. They wanted someone conversant with the workings of a large plastic vacuum-forming machine installed in the Fine Art Department, for reasons I never did discover. In order to become competent in my new position, I spent a week at the Royal College of Art working with their machine, which was located, more understandably, in the Industrial Design department. I salvaged some strips of wood from a bin and shelved them together to look like the spines of books. I then copied them in white plastic using the machine. Laying them out on the floor, I wrote a title on each of the newly created white spines. The titles were borrowed from my aborted Camden Art Centre show. I then started to invent more, writing them as fast as I could, one after the other, without stopping to think. I then took the pieces to be photographed together as a bookcase. It was important that the resulting photograph be enlarged life size so that one could easily read the titles. To emphasize the life-size dimension of the photograph I included myself in it. My image in the photograph provoked me to add 'headcase' to the title.
This piece was shown at the 'Young Contemporaries' exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1970. The plastic book spines were randomly scattered on the gallery floor in front of the photographic enlargement. The Marlborough Gallery encouragingly awarded me a prize for this work.

″I still use the same approach to my work: I get an idea, think of the title and then make the work. So not much has changed since 1964″

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