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, specializing 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.
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.
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 recent 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 is to be launched at the Saison Poetry Library, South Bank Centre in March 2012.
Selected Group Exhibitions
- 2011 CORRESPONDENCE book exhibition touring Poland, October 2011-2014
- 2011 Women Over 25; Printing Letterpress for over a Quarter of a Century Clark Humanities Museum, Claremont, California
- 2011 Life the universe and everything: Artists’ Books which question our relationship with nature exhibition at IMPACT 7 conference, Australia
- 2011 With Food in Mind, Center for Book Arts, New York
- 2011 In-and outside-Writing Voorkamer Gallery, Belgium
- 2010 Beyond the Text: Artists’ Books from the Collection of Robert J. Ruben, The Grolier Club, New York and Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont
- 2010 Re:searching playing in the Archive, Baring archive, ING Bank, London
- 2009 Selections from the Athenaeum’s Erika & Fred Torri Artist’s Book Collection: Gefn Press, Athenaem, La Jolla, California
- 2009 New Wave: Artists’ Books in the 21st Century, UWE Bristol
- 2008 B**k London Print Studio
- 2007 Incubator Edinburgh Printmakers Gallery & touring
- 2007 Cunning Chapters The British Library, London & UWE Bristol
- 2007 Gefn Press Bailey/Howe Library University of Vermont, Burlington
- 2005 Arcadia Id Est: Artists' Books, Nature and the Landscape TRACE Gallery & internationally touring
- 2005 30 Years of Innovation: A Survey of Exhibition History at the Center for Book Arts, 1974-2004 Center for Book Arts, New York
- 2004 Beyond the Digital Surface Ewha Gallery, Seoul, Korea
- 2003 (re)readings: Artists Books Now Gallery Lux, San Francisco
- 2003 Inside Cover The Center for the Book, San Francisco
Selected Curatorial Projects
- 2010 - Co-curator Poetry of Unknown Words with Dr. Katharine Meynell, to be launched at the Saison Poetry Library, South Bank March 2012
- 2007 Co-curator Cunning Chapters with Dr. Katharine Meynell, launched at The British Library, London
- 2003 Co-curator writing instructions / reading walls' visual poetics project, Poetry Society, London, leading to the publication here are my instructions (2004) <http://www.art-omma.org/NEW/issue%2011/theprojectroom.htm> edited with Dr. Redell Olsen, Royal Holloway, University of London
Selected Publications (including artists’ books and articles)
- 2011 (forthcoming December) Transcription Notes, edited chapter and artists’ pages Mutual Dependencies ed. Katharine Meynell, London; Artwords Press
- 2011 Interim Corrode: Gefn Press.
- 2011 Bishopsgate Within. CITY A.M. Gefn Press
- 2010 Sol Lewitt: Artists’ Books, Print Quarterly, Vol.XXVII – 2 (June 2010)
- 2010 baring antebellum: Gefn Press.
- 2007 Viewpoint: a ‘case’ for visibility, Art Libraries Journal volume 32, number 2, ed. Gillian Varley, UK & Ireland: ARLIS.
- 2007 Sediment, Waste & Metaphor, Gefn Press Catalogue Raisonne 1977-2007, Burlington: University of Vermont Libraries.
- 2007 Subtext localities, (internet) Dusie.org journal of contemporary British and Irish poetry www.dusie.org/johanknecht.html
- 2007 Subtext Localities London: Gefn Press.
- 2007 Waste Incant Vermont: Janus Press.
- 2005 Armour (internet). Pores avant-gardist journal of poetic research. Available from: www.pores.bbk.ac.uk/4/index.htm
- 2004 Subsequent Drainage on Folding Rocks. London: Gefn Press
- 2004 Plates 1-4, Figures 1-3, Advice to Miss Buswell and Miss Ripley on Drawing Fossils, List of Illustrations (internet). How2 journal of contemporary writing. www.how2journal.com/archive/
- 2003 The Symbolic Book: A Travelogue. The Book Show, ed. Simon Morley, London: Utopia Press with The Nunnery and The Wordsworth Trust.
- 2003 Some Reformations, Artist’s Book Yearbook 2003-2005, ed. Sarah Bodman, Bristol: Impact Press.
Selected Presentations to Conferences
- 2011 Book art: the artist as curator with K. Meynell, College Art Association, New York and Yale University Library
- 2010 a certain slant of light POLYply 3, Centre for Creative Collaboration, London
- 2009 Sculpture & Literature in the Nineteenth Century, Royal Holloway University of London
- 2009 The Hybrid Book, University of the Arts Philadelphia
- 2008 TALK lecture series with K. Meynell, Birkeck, University of London
- 2008 Beyond the Book Symposium, V&A
- 2004 TALK lecture series with R. Olsen, Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Birkbeck.