Hilary Judd born 1977
Shoe Box 2006
Manchester: Hilary Judd, 2006
Edition size: 10
Tate Library’s copy: number 6.
This book is a small rectangular white box that is shaped like a shoe-box and fits into the palm of the hand. Lifting the lid draws a concertina of folded pages out of the box (they are attached to the inside of the lid by a small tab). The concertina is also fixed to the inside of the bottom of the box, so the box acts as book cover. Each of the eighteen concertina folds bears images on the front and back. The image on the front is of the uppers of a pair of shoes, sandals or slippers, while the image on the back is of the soles. A small label attached to one end of box states: ‘Style: Hilary; Colour: Multi; Size: 37; Edition 6/10’.
The artist writes:
Shoes are simple objects that reflect our daily lives. Unlike other garments there’s a transference of the person into the object itself. Leather warps and the soles take an impression of our foot. Shoes retain the shape and essence of the wearer. Shoe Box is a collection of drawings of all the shoes I own. Each pair of shoes is drawn from above and underneath.1
Artists have often used objects to represent people or the self in portraits. It has been suggested, for example, that Vincent Van Gogh used a simple rush-seated chair, pipe and tobacco in Van Gogh’s Chair (1888, National Gallery, London) to represent himself, contrasting his character and interests with Gauguin, who he represented in a companion picture, Gauguin’s Chair (1888, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), with a more elaborate chair, candle and novels. Many book artists have used the book to explore identity and self through artist books. Other examples in Tate Library’s collection include Lynn Ashby’s I Decline Myself (2008), Barbara Rosenthal’s Old Address Book (1985) and Dirty Book (2010) and Virgil Tracy’s Under Hempel’s Sofa (1998).
Judd explored identity in another work in Tate’s collection, Shopping lists: a collection of found shopping lists ordered alphabetically (2006). This consists of shopping lists found mainly outside supermarkets in Manchester and Liverpool. The lists are printed both front and back on the recto and verso of the pages. Judd writes about this work: ‘The lists become a portrait of the person through the food they consume and other clues such as handwriting and what they write on. It could also be seen as a photograph album, showing snapshots of a life.’