After coordinating the launch event Tea with Harland for a new limited edition print with Harland Miller and Other Criteria a few weeks ago, the team and I then scooted down to the Royal Academy last night for a talk with Harland about his work. Sadly the lighting wasn’t good enough to get any decent shots of the night – other than the ceiling – and Harland assured the audience that he had put the slideshow together amidst a fever, so there were some low res images, and some fantastically hand scrawled bulletin pages.
Harland is a writer and artist and the two are often inextricably linked and inform one another.
He grew up surrounded by books and worked with them in a variety of ways for years before he rediscovered the Penguin Classics again as an adult and then began using the designs and layout, inserting his own text, with his name placed on the piece as the author of the book.
Although I was already familiar with Harland’s work, it was great to learn more about his practice.
Some of his words are quotes from his personal life, dreams, events or things he reads or hears which have some resonance with him, and it was great to hear a personal account of how he had arrived at some of my favourite lines. I also didn’t realise that Penguin colour code these books to indicate subject matter; brown, green, orange, cerise, which Harland then used to indicate the subject matter of the piece, in relation to the text and intention of the piece.
Sadly Harland’s Overcoming Optimism exhibition has now ended at the Ingleby Gallery in London but you can still visit Other Criteria on Hinde Street to see his latest edition The Me I Never Knew and watch a short film screening about the creation of this print, which should be showing until the end of the month.
I definitely recommend seeing some of these works in person – they really are fantastic. But if you can’t get to town there are a couple of books about the artist which are also well worth a look – also available at Other Criteria.