June Leaf – Record 1974/75

Mabou Coal Mines. Steidl 2010. Englisch. 196 Seiten, mit zahlr. Abb. 19,2 x 30,5 cm. 1,0 kg. Fester Einband. 9783869300450. art-10284
statt 38,00€ 10,00
This book is a facsimile of June Leaf’s sketchbook from the winter of 1974 and 1975, spent in Mabou Coal Mines, Nova Scotia. She has lived here since 1969 with her husband, Swiss-American photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank. The book is above all a working document of Leaf’s thoughts. Drawing is her primary medium, an approach explained in her first written entry of 26 November, 1974: “I don’t usually like to write because I am more satisfied by an action.”

Her sketches are exploratory, inquisitive, incomplete: for example she refines a motif as simple as a knot over days and weeks, drawing it in different ways until it becomes no more than a detail in a larger, more complex picture. Leaf is not afraid to express the difficulty of the creative process, her frustration as well as her progress: “I’ve come to a dead stop. Should make a sculpture – don’t want to! Should play the fiddle – don’t want to! Should take a walk – too cold. Where’s the inspiration?”

Amidst such uncertainty Leaf’s husband remains a constant source of inspiration: representations of Frank are scattered throughout the book, from its opening pages to the last, unpretentious entry of 24 April, 1975: “Blue book ends.”