Susan Johanknecht

Senior Lecturer and Subject Leader Book Arts specialism, MA Visual Arts

Camberwell College of Arts

Biography

Susan Johanknecht is Senior Lecturer and Subject Leader of the Book Arts specialism, MA Visual Arts, at Camberwell College of Arts.

She studied English Literature at the University of Vermont and Fine Art, specialising in Printmaking, at the Central School of Art. Through National Endowment for the Arts funding she was apprenticed to Claire Van Vliet and the Janus Press, Vermont.

Her work focuses on the development and production of artists’ books under the imprint of Gefn Press. The press has published over thirty books to date, documented with an illustrated catalogue and retrospective exhibition at the University of Vermont in 2007. Gefn Press publications have considered hypertext in relation to the printed page Subsequent Drainage on Folding Rocks (2004) and the material poetics of letterpress printing Subtext Localities (2007) and Interim Corrode (2011).

Her writing has appeared in HOW(2) internet journal of Contemporary and Innovative Writing by Women and PORES avant- gardist journal of poetic research. Her artists’ books are in many collections including; New York Public Library, Saison Poetry Collection, Tate Library, National Art Library (V&A), Museum of Modern Art, NY, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, Museum van het Boek, Netherlands.

She also works with the artists’ book as a site for collaborative practice and has co-curated projects including Here are my Instructions (2004) with Redell Olsen, Volumes (of vulnerability) (2000) and Cunning Chapters (2007) with Katharine Meynell, with whom she is collaborating on the forthcoming Poetry of Unknown Words project.

Research statement

My research focuses on the development and production of artists’ books under the imprint of Gefn Press. The press has published over thirty books to date, with a retrospective exhibition at the University of Vermont, Burlington USA in 2007.

The subject matter of Gefn Press books is often concerned with vulnerability of the environment- Hermetic Waste (1986), Crevice / Map (1994), Subsequent Drainage on Folding Rocks (2004), Subtext Localities (2007), Waste Incant (2007) and Interim Corrode (2011). My involvement with the Barings Archive project has concerned an exploration of relationships between finance, politics and the arts, leading to the books Baring Antebellum (2010) and Bishopsgate Within. CITY A.M. (2011).

Concepts of the hybrid, expanded book are central to my interest in the role of artists’ books within contemporary fine art and poetic practice, and collaborative book projects are an important aspect to this research. Here are my Instructions (2004) was co-curated with Dr. Redell Olsen, Royal Holloway, University of London; Volumes (of vulnerability) (2000) and Cunning Chapters (2007) were co-curated with Dr. Katharine Meynell, Middlesex University, with whom I am developing Poetry of Unknown Words, the first part of which was launched at the Saison Poetry Library, Southbank Centre in March 2012.

Students

Current students & thesis titles

Altea Grau Vidal, Unmasking conventions: re-evaluating the notion of the double page spread.

Completed students & thesis titles

Zoe Tillotson, Ephemeral Art; A Philosophical Proposition About the Nature of Time and Being.

Selected research outputs