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Interesting arty stuff going on at Shandy Hall in Coxwold, near York, which is the house where Laurence Sterne wrote The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (information below from the Independent; exhibition includes work by my dear friend Nick Thurston)...


This autumn, the gallery opened The Perverse Library, the first exhibition of conceptual writing to go on show in this country. It claims to be an emerging art form, a fusion of art and literature, influenced by the first artists' books by Ed Ruscha and Sol LeWitt, as much as by writers such as Sterne, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce. "Conceptual writing seeks to ask what would a non-expressive poetry look like? A poetry of intellect rather than emotion?" says Professor Craig Dworkin, a leading figure in the movement.

"Conceptual writing is a necessary thing in our culture where we feel language is impoverished by everyday use," says the artist Professor Pavel B├╝chler, of Manchester Metropolitan University. "It repairs the damage done by bureaucratic and managerial language. Conceptual writing keeps open possibilities in language."

Conceptual writing is a computer program by artist Simon Morris, which randomly reorders the entire text of Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams. Or, it is a book by Nick Thurston in which the author has removed all the text from a book by Maurice Blanchot, except notes he made in the margin. In the centre of the gallery stands a bookcase. It is made of Perspex and the transparent shelving makes the books appear to float, hence its title: The Invisible Bookshelf. The books on show were chosen in response to the library of Professor Dworkin. His latest book, titled The Perverse Library, is a list of every book that he owns, all 2,427 of them. He writes that the books we own reveal less about us than the books that we don't own and that a library must have what he calls "dynamic tensions". A random assortment of books is not a library.

The Perverse Library, Shandy Hall, Coxwold, York (01347 868465; laurencesternetrust.org.uk) to 31 October.

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