With John Latham Foundation

Skoob event and lecture - Stadehlschule, Frankfurt am Main.

Series of images capturing the Skoob event at Henry Moore Insitute, Leeds. 

These performance events, or as John Latham called them, sculptures in reverse,  were realised as key parts of two exhibitions with the support of The John Latham Foundation.

God is Great (10-19)
John Latham | Neal White 

Restaging of John Latham Skoob Tower performance sculptures, commissioned by Sophie von Olfers for Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, May 10 – June 29, 2014

A Lesson in Sculpture with John Latham.
Neal White realises a Skoob Tower, commissioned by Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, April 20, 2016

John Latham (1921–2006) is widely known for his Skoob (books spelt backwards) works, slowly smouldering “towers” of encyclopedias. His target was not the books themselves, but the role he felt they played in transmitting received opinion, obscuring truth and stifling independent thinking.

Commissioned initially by Portikus, part of Frankfurt’s Städelschule art school, I restaged a Latham Skoob Tower performance in 2014 to coincide with God Is Great, an exhibition at the gallery that combined my work with that of the late artist. Latham’s God Is Great consists of a bed of glass and three religious books, the Talmud, Quran and the Bible.

Two years later, I performed Neal White realises a Skoob tower at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, as part of the exhibition A Lesson in Sculpture with John Latham.

Archive in Ashes (2016), a sculptural artefact made from the remains of the performance, was proposed as key part of the commissioned work, exploring the challenge of the preservation of the event as an archival intervention in itself. 

Preparation of Skoobs with students from Stadehschule- Frankfurt am Main.

Collection acquisition: The Archive in Ashes
Henry Moore Institute, for Leeds Sculpture Collection, UK.


In October 2017, the work was completed when 'Archive in Ashes' a conceptual work that interred the traces of a Skoob event performed by Neal White with John Latham Foundation (2016) was acquired by Henry Moore Institute for the Leeds Sculpture Collection.

The work consists of the vacuum sealed remains of a burnt encyclopeadia (Above), selected by curator Lisa Le Feuvre. The valise / case housing the work also includes a video documenting the performance, a lighter,  and important conceptual information on the time base of the work and its display.

For other projects commissioned and acquired by The Henry Moore Institue - see The Third Campaign.