This book follows the first exhibition of Robilliard’s notebooks, ‘Disorganised Writings and Sketches’ with Rob Tufnell in Cologne in April 2019. It was made with support from the Elephant Trust and the book’s designers, A Practice for Everyday Life and with assistance from James Birch, one of David’s gallerists, and Chris Hall, custodian of the estate of Andrew Heard. The book is dedicated to Andrew Heard.
Rob Tufnell presents a new publication of extracts from the notebooks of the poet and artist David Robilliard (b.1952 – d.1988). After his premature death from an AIDS-related illness in 1988, Robilliard left a large number of notebooks in the care of his close friend and fellow artist Andrew Heard. These were obsessively filled with drafts of poems, diary entries, addresses and telephone numbers, blunt observations, quiet reflections, short stories, ideas for paintings, portraits and crude drawings. Robilliard’s superficially simple, pithy prose and verse is riddled with the dichotomies of an era that was both exuberant and miserable. His notebooks reveal his creative process, his interests, ideas, ambitions and then his illness but always embody his often repeated belief that ‘Life’s not good it’s excellent.’
Many of the books contain the inscription: ‘If found please return to 12 Fournier Street, London E1. Thank you’ – the home and studio of his patrons, Gilbert & George. In their lament ‘Our David’ (1990) they describe their protégé as:
“...the sweetest, kindest, most infuriating, artistic, foul-mouthed, witty, sexy, charming, handsome, thoughtful, unhappy, loving and friendly person we ever met... Starting with pockets filled with disorganised writings and sketches, he went on to produce highly original poetry, drawings and paintings.”
The publication exists in two editions: yellow and pink.