1SSUE was founded in 2002 by Cardiff-based artist Richard Cox. The idea is simple; an agreed number of artists for each edition of 1SSUE produce the same number of book pages as there are artists in the group. One of the 4 rotating editors gathers the submissions together, binds them simply and then distributes them by post to each contributing artist, who each receive a book with all the artists’ contributions inside. The pages each artist makes can be all different, all the same, printed, or hand-made, digital, or analogue – there are no restrictions except for size and weight. The four rotating editors are Richard Cox, Heather Parnell, Philip Mead, and Hilary Wagstaff.
All 1SSUE books are unique; there is a real coming together of creativity, generosity, and solidarity. The costs of submissions are born by the individual participants. Since 1SSUE 50, an extra copy is printed and archived by the Bodleian Library in Oxford. More than 100 artists have taken part in 1SSUE to date and I have taken part in 15 editions, beginning with No 2 and continuing to the current edition: No 53.
Without Borders is an international touring exhibition, which expands and amplifies the initial concepts behind 1SSUE. It was curated by elysium gallery director Jonathan Powell, and Heather Parnell, artist and editor of 1SSUE. The project salutes the diversity of creativity, and showcases the work of all artists democratically, in a format that is portable and accessible. The ‘Artists Book’ serves as the vessel and sets the parameters for the voyages of the artists’ imagination.
The term Border describes literal or invisible lines: edges that separate and divide, that contain and limit. Without Borders is particularly evocative and redolent in these current times. Ever-quickening, reactive politics results in some borders hardening, whilst others dissolve. The divide between rich and poor appears to be widening. Physical, geographical, and social borders, together with the fragile, permeable border between life and death have both been highlighted by the recent pandemic.
Without Borders seeks to remove barriers, create alliances, and connect with neighbours. It aims to bring artists together from different regions of Wales and the rest of the world, to collaborate in an international touring exhibition of works on paper – a collection of artists pages. The project is globally accessible via an e-catalogue and the tour of physical works so far has included Elysium Gallery (Swansea, Wales), Art Spot Korin, (Kyoto, Japan), Art and Mind Centre (Nagoya, Japan), MetaForte (Venice, Italy), and Carn (Caernarvon, Wales). It will travel to Denver in 2025. At the end of the international tour, the artworks will be bound together to create one unique artist’s book, to be housed in a special collections’ library.