EVENTS AND PERFORMANCES
Kenneth Halliwell: Collage
Friday 7 February - Saturday 1 March 2014
Venue: Islington Museum
In 1962 aspiring writers Kenneth Halliwell and his younger partner John 'Joe' Orton were each sentenced to six months imprisonment for theft and malicious damage to Islington Public Library books.
They were found guilty of theft and defacement of library book covers by adding alternative images from other sources or inserting new text and narrative. The ‘collage’ work began in Islington after the couple had moved to the area in 1959. They also removed illustrations from library art books to ’wallpaper’ their bed-sit flat at 25 Noel Road. Imprisonment proved difficult for Halliwell but incarceration for Orton proved inspirational. He embarked upon what was to be a successful but all too brief writing career, cut tragically short by his murder at the hand of his jealous partner in 1967.
Halliwell’s ambition as a writer was overshadowed by his partner’s subsequent success as a playwright and, so, he returned to the art form for which, a few years earlier, he had become infamous. This time, however, Halliwell was intent on making a name for himself as a professional collage artist.
'Kenneth Halliwell: Collage' showcases an original Halliwell collage, 'Untitled No.2', recently acquired by Islington Museum, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Accompanied by a selection of surviving, ‘Halliwell-led’ doctored covers, as well as new collage works by Islington residents inspired by the new acquisition, the exhibition reflects upon the collagist’s creative and mischievous talent while resident in this north London borough.
There are also special events at Islington Museum to accompany 'Kenneth Halliwell: Collage'. For more information see details here, call 020 7527 2837 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Defaced Library Books of Kenneth Halliwell and Joe Orton
by Ilsa Colsell
‘Libraries might as well not exist; they’ve got endless shelves for rubbish and hardly any space for good books.’ Orton, 1967.
New book about the defaced library books now available here
Read more about the Islington Library Books here
Read the Guardian article and review here
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