Documentation as Art Practice in the 1960s by Christian Berger and Jessica Santone, for an excellent PDF on the subject.
Perhaps an alternative approach is that of Dieter Roth. He used the diary format to reflect on his life, interweaving selections from these diaries into his work, making almost direct translations from them and creating copybooks from them using Xerox. Each page becomes an intense interaction between word and image, he often used water soluble ink as he wrote so that when the paper was dampened ink would bleed and spread, the writing then becoming more visually akin to other types of mark making. At the same time as he made these diaries, alongside them he was collecting every piece of waste less than 1cm thick that he encountered every day in the studio, preserving it in a plastic folder and compiling these into ring binders. His everyday thoughts are collected alongside everyday detritus. A concept that I think is very interesting, artists' jottings being valued as much as the dirt and rubbish on the studio floor. This is almost in direct opposition to Picasso who values every page, signing and dating his work as he proceeds, as he obviously believed that at some point in time researchers would value his work so highly that they would want to be able to follow his thinking in sequential detail.
Roth diary pages
Roth daily collection file pages
Dieter Roth: vitrine of notebooksRoth often used both sides of his paper, so this has given exhibitors a problem, and of course there is an interesting solution.
Dieter RothDouble sided frames can be really useful and encourage a very different audience engagement with the work. Professional framers, such as John Jones in London, also make double sided hinged frames. However framing and how this can change an audience's engagement with the work is something else and I shall open this out a little more in the next post.
Sketchbook links of interest:
An earlier post on Richard Diebenkorn's sketchbooks.
A link to an article on the Spanish artist and designer Pep Carrio, who set himself a task of making an image a day in his sketchbooks.
Lucy Lyons makes sketchbooks the focus for her practice