Exhibition

Holy, Holy, Holy: an exhibition of books with holes

6 Oct - 30 Oct 2021

No Show Space is pleased to present Holy, Holy, Holy: an exhibition of books with holes curated by Inscription Journal with Fraser Muggeridge and Aslak Gurholt.

Inscription: the Journal of Material Text is a journal launched in 2020. This exhibition coincides with issue 2 of Inscription, all about holes, and celebrates its launch with an exhibition of books with apertures, absences, tunnels, gaps, voids, and bits that aren’t there.

Allen Ginsberg wrote in ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ (1955): ‘The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy! The nose is holy!... Everything is holy!’ Books, too, can be surprisingly hol(e)y. Their holes are often not aberrations or quirks so much as integral features. The material text has historically been riddled with them: needle holes made in order to stitch pages together; or tunnels made by bookworms and other pests; or pinpricks added by medieval scribes to mark out the layout of a manuscript page; or, in parchment works, large irregular gaps as a result of flaws in the animal hide.

Holy, Holy, Holy presents a library of 20th and 21st -century books with holes – some intentional and some not; some playful and productive; some destructive and obscuring. On display will be a richly varied and international collection of titles, including books for children such as Katsumi Komagata’s What color? (1991), and Peter Newell’s The HOLE Book (1908), which invites readers to ‘open the book and follow the HOLE’; Scott Blake’s Hole Punch Flipbook #1 (2020) that puts holes in motion; Lucio Fontana’s perforated covers; Dieter Roth’s iconic die-cut volumes and South African artist Kendell Geers’ Point Blank (2004), an edition of 1,030 blank books with each copy shot at point blank range. In addition, we present works by Carolyn Thompson and David Bellingham, and a special preview of Inscription issue 2.

What does it mean to claim that a hole is central to the physical form of the book? What political and ethical questions are at stake when an artist cuts through, or shoots, the codex? What can these holes tell us about the nature of the book?


Inscription Journal, founded in 2020, is edited by Gill Partington, Adam Smyth and Simon Morris. It is designed by Fraser Muggeridge Studio and published by Information as Material, in partnership with Leeds Beckett University. Inscription issue 1: Beginnings was published in 2020.

Fraser Muggeridge (b. 1973) is a graphic designer based in London, UK. He formed Fraser Muggeridge studio in 2001 working with artists, galleries and cultural institutions to create printed matter.

Aslak Gurholt (b. 1981) co-founded Yokoland between 2001-05, a design studio based in Oslo, Norway. The studio is focused on an experimental practice within the cultural field in both print and digital work.

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