Sunday, 3 November 2013
BOB COBBING ABC IN SOUND
On 8th October I went to the opening of Bob Cobbing: ABC in Sound, curated by William Cobbing and Rosie Cooper at the Exhibition Research Centre, Liverpool John Moores University. This is an exhibition about the whole career of the leading British concrete and sound poet, virtuoso performer, publisher, poetry activist, teacher and intermedia artist Bob Cobbing (1920-2002). The exhibition features recordings going back to the 1960s and 70s, lots of publications and printed works, framed artworks, and works by some of his collaborators such as Dom Sylvester Houedard, Henri Chopin, and his wife Jennifer Pike. There are also documents relating to his activities as an arts and poetry activist, and to his early career as a teacher. Apart from the sheer compression and brilliance of his best work (see above, read it aloud), Cobbing was an influential poet and artist who inspired a whole generation through his generous workshops, performances and work as a publisher. It was a pleasure to see this show and have the many aspects of Cobbing's career sampled and effectively shown together, some of the best visual works reprinted and shown in large format. A new film by artist Holly Antrum presents Jennifer Pike's dance performance work. This was my first visit to the Exhibitions Research Centre in the John Lennon Art and Design Building, next to the Catholic Cathedral in Liverpool. Thanks to Robert Sheppard and Patricia Farrell for their kind hospitality.
Image: 'wan, do, tree' from the Exhibition flyer, copyright (c) 1977 by Bob Cobbing, courtesy the Estate of Bob Cobbing.