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Library Exhibitions and Events: Paint Outs, Cut Outs, Tear Up Erasures

The University of Southampton Library offers a varied programme of events and exhibition across its sites.

Paint Outs, Cut Outs, Tear Up Erasures

Photo by Daniel Lehan: An erased page from British Birds and Their Nests


Daniel Lehan 

"Lehan’s surrealist books play with our expectations of language and image; they follow the format of a nostalgic guidebook or souvenir postcard book but they aren’t quite right. Juxtaposing images and texts meticulously cut from medical health books, vintage magazines and gardening guides, they amuse and beguile in their mix ups of flowers, castles, aliens and showgirls."

- Sarah Bodman – Senior Research Fellow for Artists’ Books / Programme Leader MA Multidisciplinary Printmaking, Centre for Fine Print Research, University of West England. Quote taken from Daniel Lehan's website.


Click on the image below to visit Daniel's website and find out more about his work:


On display from

Tuesday 30th January 2024 – Saturday 16th March 2024


Winchester School of Art Library

Check the opening hours to see when all our libraries are open.


"This exhibition is particularly significant to me, since I was a student at Winchester School of Art, studying the Fine Art ( Painting ) Degree Course, from 1977 to 1980.

The first erasure texts I made were on the front pages of the METRO newspaper.

I can’t remember if I had seen any erasure work prior to this - I was aware of those documents - often those of the government - that are censored with blocked out text, but, I think, that was all.

I wondered if it was possible, to find in the headline story of the METRO - describing a national or world event - words I could use to record my thoughts or actions for that particular day, just like a diary, covering up the ‘unwanted’ words with white paint.

This process took time, constantly re-reading the article, finding words that fell into the right order to make sense. When this happened ( and this was mostly possible ) the found words ‘cut to the chase’ and highlighted a poignant moment.

Since then I have erased texts, occasionally images, in a variety of ways, with paint, erasers, pens, by tearing and with scissors, and removing text with scalpel blades. Made erasures by using a typewriter with no ribbon, the metal keys damaging / destroying the text and sometimes the paper.

I like the physicality of altering text. The covering up or removal of words. When using scalpel blades, the removal of words and paper could be regarded by some, as sacrilegious - attacking a work of literature. I am struck, however, by how a destroyed page has a fragility, often a beauty, having survived such a ‘creative’ attack.

A consequence of removing text, is the increase in the amount of ‘empty’ space around the words remaining. This removal, feels like something being ‘released’ creating a space for the eye to consider these ‘floating’ words ( no longer held in sequential order ) differently.

Working with erasures, I am taken with the idea and process of absence, the absence of something that was.

A challenge is to create texts which alter the sense and meaning, even the subject, of the source material. One I have in mind - to take, say, a car manual and create from this a love story.

This exhibition will include erased books ; A Guide to the National Gallery, a RSPB book of birds, several guide books, Ladybird books - erased photographs and French texts, typewriter erasures, and an erasure of the Holy Communion Service. The Nose, by Nikolai Gogol has been ‘totally’ erased with each and every word cut from this short work, and each one placed in a box, with the invitation to then re-use these words to create a new text.

During the past year I have submitted some of the erasure work to online and print poetry journals, and these have been published by 3:AM, Arteidolia, Ballast, and Word For Word, amongst others." -- Daniel Lehan 


Tuesday 30th January 2024

2:00pm: Daniel Lehan will be talking about his work and current exhibition. Please meet at Winchester School of Art Library reception, upstairs in the West Side Building. Open to all.

5:00pm - 7:00pm: A joint opening event in West Side Building for this exhibition and Queering Connections. Open to University students and staff.

Connecting collections

We have several books by Daniel Lehan in our Artists' Books Collection at Winchester School of Art Library. You can find them listed on our Library catalogue Library Search.

Our collection includes other artists' books made using collage by artists such as Danny Aldred, Jeremy Dixon and Hormazd Narielwalla. You can browse these books, as well as other items in our collection, via Library Search.

If you would like to view any of these books or if you have any questions about our Artists' Books Collection, you can book an appointment during Library opening hours by emailing