Phee Jefferies

Please Don’t Feed the Books


26 April - 12 July 2024


Blenheim Walk Library

Visiting hours

By appointment

Phee Jefferies

Phee Jefferies

Leeds Arts University Library is pleased to present ‘Please Don’t Feed the Books’, an exhibition by Phee Jefferies (MA Fine Art).

Phee Jefferies’ work draws attention to the strangeness of what we call ‘normality’. In preparation for the exhibition, she engaged with the ideas of Surrealism and Absurdism, as philosophies that create space for us to reflect on the gap that often exists between meaning and material reality. In exploring the library’s Special Collection of Artist Books, Jefferies was drawn to publications where artists have used words, as opposed to images, as tools to disrupt or deconstruct the meaning we attach to everyday life.

This exhibition features two aspects of Jefferies’ practice, her interventions into everyday objects and her technique of creating disembodied limbs from latex, which she has been developing for four years. The hands that cradle the books have become a hybrid between human hands and the latex gloves worn by conservators, devoid of the natural oils in human hands that can be harmful to the delicate pages. Inside the glass cases the hands display their favourite pages and, emerging from the library walls, they read their books through non-existent eyes. Jefferies’ own interventions into artist books explore satirical takes on the structure of books, and, most recently, a seemingly sentient book struggling with the absurdity of its own existence.

Jefferies’ went through school with undiagnosed dyslexia, which caused a lot of struggles throughout her education and led to a strong dislike of reading. Coming to art school and receiving her diagnosis led to rediscovering a love for reading by exploring it through what makes sense to her; that being nonsense. In this exhibition she has identified books that do not insist on having a rational meaning, in order to activate an alternative space for intellectual engagement and reading pleasure.

Phee Jefferies has collaborated with Leeds Arts University Library to co-create this exhibition at Blenheim Walk Library, responding to the theme of ‘Publishing as Artistic Practice’. The exhibition showcases selected publications from the Library’s Special Collection in dialogue with Jefferies’ own practice in making artist books, sculptures, and installations.

Viewings of the exhibition are available to external visitors by prior arrangement with Library staff. Please email to make an appointment.

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