Bookmarking Book Art – Learning to read Shirley Sharoff’s “La grande muraille”

 

La grande muraille/The Great Wall (1991), Shirley Sharoff
All Books On Books photos are reproduced here with permission of the artist.
Detail, La grande muraille/The Great Wall (1991)
Typeface: Athenaeum, designed by Alessandro Butti and Aldo Novarese in 1945
The National Library of the Netherlands advises, “for [Shirley Sharoff’s La grande muraille/The Great Wall (1991)] to be read, the book first must be rolled out”.  And that is what I did, using the large table in the Special Collection’s seminar room. 

Enjoyable as that was, enjoying it again with the video afterward, something seemed awry. The texts had gaps, or so I thought. So I returned a second time. Perhaps if I re-shot the video. Perhaps if I took more stills and close-ups. Perhaps if I shot the rolling up as well as the unrolling.

No doubt, the second effort added to the pleasure. Looking at the videos and stills, I can again feel between my fingers the Arches paper and engravings’ impressions on it. But still I detected gaps, seeming mismatches between the French and English. I wondered to what degree they

followed the Chinese text or whether some of Lu Xun’s text had been omitted.  So, I returned a third time, and then came my “ah hah” moment. Unrolled, La grande muraille looks like a double-sided leporello or accordion book like this one: In Mexico by Helen Douglas.

In Mexico: in the garden of Edward James (2014)
Helen Douglas
La grande muraille/The Great Wall (1991)
Shirley Sharoff
Photo credit: © Koopman Collection. National Library of the Netherlands/Jos Uljee

To read La grande muraille as the double-sided leporello it appears to be, however, is to overlook the multi-page spreads that Sharoff conceived with François Da Ros (her typography and print collaborator) in putting together this forme en escargot (snail-shell form as she calls it). The snail-shell form, its multi-page spreads and the text demand that you read La grande muraille as you unroll it, or rather, as you unfold it.

With the book laid flat, the “page spreads” are easier to recognize, the text is easier to read, and the forethought needed for the “imposition” of text and images to deliver the sequential text, easier to marvel at. As each recto page is turned to the right, two new pages appear to the right. This unfolding approach to reading the book offers several intriguing “double- and multi-page spreads” and an experience of the texts and eight prints in the sequence driven by the text. When you have finished reading in this sequence, you will have read both sides of the scroll. 

Reading the text

Front cover
La grande muraille/The Great Wall (1991), Shirley Sharoff
“Pages 1 and 2”
As “page 2” is turned to the right and the English title of the work disappears, “pages 3 and 4” come into view.
“Pages 1, 3 and 4”
“Page 3” displays the authors names, and “page 4” displays the first of eight prints in the book. As “page 4” is turned to the right and disappears, “pages 5 and 6” appear.
“Pages 1, 3, 5 and 6”
“Page 5” gives the title of the book in Chinese calligraphy. On “page 6”,  the opening line of Lu Xun’s text appears in English, French and Chinese.
Turning “page 1” to the right will cover the authors’ names on “page 3”, and turning “page 6” to the right will yield the next four-page view.
“Back cover, pages 5, 7 -8”
The next lines of Lu Xun’s disquisition run in English, French and Chinese across “pages 7-8”.
Detail, “Pages 7 and 8”.
Notice how the English text on “page 7” runs across to “page 8”, but the French text disappears under “page 8”, effectively running on to what will be revealed as “page 9” in the next view.
“Pages 2, 9-11”
This view results from two page turns inward on the left and two outward on the right. “Page 2” has come back into view on the left.  The English text on pages 9-10 completes the sentence interrupted on “page 8”. The French text on “pages 9 and 10” completes the sentence that began on “page 7” and ran behind “page 8”.
Pages 9-10, 12-13
Pages 6, 12, 14-15
Pages 12, 14, 16-17
Pages 16, 18-19
Pages 16, 18, 20-21
Pages 20, 22-23
Pages 20, 22, 24-25
Pages 24, 26-27
Pages 24, 26, 28-29
Pages 28, 30-31
Pages 30, 32-33
Pages 32, 34-35
Pages 32, 34, 36-37
Pages 34, 38-39
Pages 38, 40-41
Pages 40, 42-43
Pages 42, 44-45
Pages 44, 46-47
Pages 44, 46, 48-49
Pages 46, 48, 50-51
Pages 48, 50, 52-53
Pages 50, 54-55
Pages 54, 56-57, the latter displaying the last ten characters of Lu Xun’s text.

這偉大而可詛咒的長城)

Pages 56, 58-59
Pages 58, 60-61
Pages 60, 62-63
Pages 62, 64-65
pages 64, 66-67

Now that the so-called gaps in the English and French texts were resolved, I wanted to understand how the English and French matched up to the Chinese text. For that, I asked help from two acquaintances in The Hague: Bee Leng Bee and Yingxian Song.  They obtained a copy of Lu Xun’s text, traced it through the photos I had taken and found that the three languages run almost in parallel as the work unfolds.

“Almost” because the order of the languages is not alway the same. On pages one and two, we see the French and English titles but must wait until page five before the Chinese title appears. Then, on page six the order changes: English first, then French, then the corresponding ten Chinese characters. On pages seven and eight, this order is maintained. Later, with the turning of page fifteen, the French comes before the English and Chinese; the first Chinese character aligning to the French and English (其) appears on page seventeen. Then, as page seventeen is turned to the right, the order changes back to French then English on page eighteen, but on page nineteen, it moves to French first then Chinese. The book’s textual conclusion on pages fifty-six through fifty-nine runs Chinese, English, then French. 

The juxtaposition and weaving of the three languages often seems painterly as if intended to evoke the layering of the bricks and the intertwining vines and foliage along stretches of The Great Wall. Here is the uninterrupted Chinese text:

偉大的長城!

這工程,雖在地圖上也還有它的小像,凡是世界上稍有知識的人們,大概都知道的罷。

其實,從來不過徒然役死許多工人而已,胡人何嘗擋得住。現在不過一種古跡了,但一時也不會滅盡,或者還要保存它。

我總覺得周圍有長城圍繞。這長城的構成材料,是舊有的古磚和補添的新磚。兩種東西聯為一氣造成了城壁,將人們包圍。

何時才不給長城添新磚呢?

這偉大而可詛咒的長城!

Reading the images

Even though following the forme en escargot results in having reading both sides of the scroll in the end, Sharoff also uses it to play with the notion of intended sequence. Completely unrolled and standing on its edge, the work echoes the Great Wall.  The tint of red along the top edge recalls the blood spilled in the Great Wall’s construction. The prints echo the Great Wall’s bricks, the vegetation in its crumbling gaps, even the gates. The completely unrolled work is an intended sequence, also — an invitation to walk the wall. Coming upon each of the eight copperplate engravings in the unfolding sequence is a different experience than walking up and down the “outer wall” and then the “inner wall” to see them. Five are on the outer wall, three on the inner.

The print first to be seen as the book unfolds, but one of the three on the “inner wall” with the book unrolled.
The second print comes into view on “page 14”, the second of Lu Xun’s statements begins in French on “page 15”,
and with the rolling up on the left, “page 4” has reappeared.
With the turning of “page 15”, the third print comes into view on “page 16”, and the sentence begun with “Actually” on “page 16” continues on “page 17” above the Chinese.
“Pages 16, 18-19”
The French at the top of “pages 18-19” is continuing the sentence from “page 15”, and the English beneath on “page 18” is continuing the sentence from “page 17”.
With this spread — “pages 16, 18, 20-21” — the fourth print comes into view on the right, and the French and English sentences conclude together in the middle.
“Pages 30, 32-33” and the fifth print comes into view.
“Pages 38, 40-41” and the sixth print comes into view.
“Pages 44, 46, 48-49” and the seventh print comes into view.
Pages 50, 54-55 and the eighth and final print comes into view.

Reading the form “in time”

As the force of the snail-shell binding resists the unscrolling and pulls the standing pages inward, the work has another echo: the eroding maze in the Ancient Summer Palace (Yuan Ming Yuan) outside Beijing. The faint markings on the paper, created by printing the results of repeated photocopies of a manuscript, amplify the echo.

La grande muraille/The Great Wall (1991)
Shirley Sharoff
Photo credit: © Koopman Collection. National Library of the Netherlands/Jos Uljee
Arches paper printed with the results of multiple photocopies of a manuscript.

Although Lu Xun’s text does not mention the maze, Sharoff introduces contemporary text that, alongside the interweaving Chinese, English and French of Lu Xun’s text, evokes a maze-like, time-travelling effect. The autobiographical texts from the English-language students she taught at the Central Institute of Finance and Banking (1987-88) reflect on their childhood and adolescence in the Maoist era and their recollection of representations of  foreigners in books and television. These “new bricks” in their modernness and fracturedness interrupt the flow of Lu Xun’s prose praising and cursing the Great Wall.  Yet, in their segmentation and placement, they also physically echo the prints and reinforce Lu Xun’s expression of the paradox in the construction, fragmentation, reconstruction and erosion of the real Wall.

“Pages 32, 34-35”

Sharoff’s La grande muraille is a treasure that rewards repeated visits and contemplation: not only for itself but also as a parallel or forerunner.

La grande muraille’s physical impetus (The Great Wall), the seemingly decipherable/indecipherable characters on the Arches paper, the wry paradox of Lu Xun’s observations, the socio-political-cultural implications of the “new bricks”, the work’s innovative form and the pulling of past and present together parallels the work of Xu Bing and his play with language across East and West. His Book from the Sky appeared in 1988.

Sharoff’s use of Lu Xun’s contemplation on The Great Wall also foreshadows Jorge Méndez Blake‘s Capítulo XXXVIII: Un mensaje del emperador / A Message from the Emperor (2017?). The title refers to an anecdote in the story “The Great Wall of China” by Franz Kafka, a contemporary of Lu Xun.  The narrator tells the reader how the emperor has dispatched from his deathbed a message to the reader, entrusted to a herald who, struggling as he might, cannot escape from the confines of the palace to deliver the message — yet which we the reader await hopelessly and with hope.

What more should we expect from art?

____________________________

*For help and permissions, thanks to Paul van Capelleveen and the staff at Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Den Haag, and Shirley Sharoff, Paris. For help with the Chinese and calligraphy, thanks to Bee Leng Bee and Yingxian Song.

Bookmark – eCodices

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From the e-codices project, here’s something the history of the book can teach us going forward.

Well designed digital work will be machine-actionable, but will also be capable of expressing its content when moved to other media, even non-digital media.  Neel Smith, College of Holy Cross, Boston, MA.

The manuscript page in the photograph above comes from a copy of Plato’s “Phaedo,” the description of Socrates’ death.  Its round humanistic script belongs to a single scribe, who identifies himself in red thus, “Marcus Speegnimbergensis scriptsit“ (fol. 75).

The attribution for the image associated with this item is Pellegrin Elisabeth, Manuscrits latins de la Bodmeriana, Cologny-Genève 1982, pp. 330-331. The item has a Digital Object Identifier: DOI: 10.5076/e-codices-cb-0137, which provides a fair bit of that metadata needed for Dr. Smith’s purposes.

Lesson? It might be a good idea for all every book and ebook to have a DOI, but then the International DOI Foundation and its registration agencies would need to find a sustainable business model to provide easily accessed DOI-generators for everyone seeking to publish those items.

Smith’s comments on the Fondation Martin Bodmer Collection at Cologny also imply a tangential and harder question, In the absence of some persistent unique identifier like the DOI and well-provided and maintained metadata associate with it, what are the digital (but technology-agnostic) forensic tools with which we will uncover our ebooks’ “Marcus Speegnimbergensis” and the evidence of the social contexts and creative tools with which “our Marcus” worked? That’s a “poser” for the likes of Matthew Kirschenbaum and webliographic scholars to come.

Bookmarking Book Art – “Wallpaper: An Altered Book Experiment”

If you are anywhere near Minneapolis in July or August, bookmark these items in your calendar and make your way to the Traffic Zone and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts:

A screen grab from an iPad alteration (2018)
Yu-Wen Wu
Photo: Courtesy of the curators

2 July through 10 August — “Wallpaper: an altered book experiment”, Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art Mission, 50 Third Avenue North

15 June through 21 October — “Formation: A Juried Exhibition of the Guild of Book Workers”, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Suite 100

20 July through 30 September — “Freud on the Couch: Psyche in the Book”, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Suite 100

Harriet Bart and Jon Neuse are curating the intriguing exhibition “Wallpaper”.

2 July through 10 August — “Wallpaper: an altered book experiment”, Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art Mission, 50 Third Avenue North

15 June through 21 October — “Formation: A Juried Exhibition of the Guild of Book Workers”, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Suite 100

20 July through 30 September — “Freud on the Couch: Psyche in the Book”, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Suite 100

The result is a mixed media exhibition well worth pondering. Below is a sampling of photos from the exhibition (links lead to the artists’ sites).

The Yellow Wallpaper (2018)
Harriet Bart
Photo: Courtesy of the curators
The Yellow Wallpaper (2018)
Harriet Bart
Photo: Courtesy of the curators
The individual pages of the Abrahams book, removed and painted cadmium yellow with text from Gilman’s story added, will be given away.
‘Wawlpeyper – A Study in Unobtrusive Backgrounds’ (2018)
Scott Helmes
Photo: Courtesy of the curators
Vesna’s Altered Wallpaper Book (2018)
Vesna Kittelson
Photo: Courtesy of the curators

 

Wall Covering: A meditation on appropriation, class and the other, and on the power of images (2018)
Joyce Lyon
Photo: Courtesy of the curators
Scrolls (2018)
Jon Neuse
Photo: Courtesy of the curators

As always with book art, there is the self-reflexive, self-referring humor: Jon Neuse’s pun on the book scroll housed in a house-shaped codex in which miniature scrolls of wallpaper are housed and Scott Helmes’ pronunciation-entitled work subtitled with a joke to which the work’s sculpture is the punchline. The exhibition also covers a good variety of the forms book art has taken and may pursue even further in the future: Vesna Kittelson’s carving, Joyce Lyon’s accordion book, Doug Beube’s eroded tunnel book (not shown), and Harriet Bart’s painted-book homage to Charlotte Perkins Gilmore’s short story “The Yellow Wall-Paper” and Yu-wen Wu’s digital take on the challenge.

Other artists included are Chip Schilling
, Jody Williams
, Karen Wirth and Sarita Zaleha.

It is not far from Traffic Zone to the MCBA: a 5-minute drive, a 24-minute walk or bus ride. A rare occurrence to have three book art exhibitions within such close proximity.

On “The Book” (MIT Press, 2018)

With apologies to the preacher:  Of making many books [on books] there is no end. 

                                                                                                                (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

With the choir of its forebearers, Amaranth Borsuk’s The Book (MIT Press, 2018) sounds an “amen” to that truth. The proliferation of degree programs in book studies covering the history of the book, the book arts and even book art ensures The Book will not be the last. What distinguishes Borsuk’s book are her perspective as an artist and the book’s breadth and depth despite its brevity.

The book has a long history of existential crises. What is a book? Is the end of the book nigh?  For more than a century, those questions have returned again and again. The most recent recurrence stems from the ebook’s threat to dematerialize the book and online world’s threat to take us into a post-text future. Even before these latest threats, book artists have long lived and worked with their own existential questions, a kind of higher existential calculus, nor derivative of, the book’s crises: What is an artist’s book? What is book art?  Stephen Bury, Riva Castleman, Johanna Drucker, Joan Lyons, Stefan Klima, Clive Philpott and many others in the last quarter of the 20th century dwelt on defining and categorizing book art.

Borsuk belongs to a later generation of book artists that has embraced these existential crises and recognized that the book’s existential crises are what make the book a rich medium in which and with which to create art — from bio-art miniature to the biblioclastic human-scale to large-scale installations and performances. Even to the digital.

The Origin of Species (2016)
Dr. Simon Park, Guildford, Surrey
“The small book shown here was grown from and made entirely from bacteria. Not only is the fabric of its pages (GXCELL) produced by bacteria, but the book is also printed and illustrated with naturally pigmented bacteria. ” Posted 27 March 2016. Photo credit: Dr. Simon F. Park
Silenda: Black Sea Book (2015)
Jacqueline Rush Lee
Transformed Peter Green‘s translation of Ovid’s Tristia and the Black Sea Letters
H9.5″ x W12″ x D6.5.” Manipulated Text, Ink, Graphite
Photo credit: Paul Kodama. In Private Collection, NL
Enclosed Content Chatting Away in the Colour Invisibility (2009)
Anouk Kruithof
Reproduced with permission of the artist
Field (2015)
Johannes Heldén
Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University
Reproduced with permission of the artist

Performance artist and academic as well, Borsuk brings that later generational and creative perspective to the existential question — What is the book? — and, with an artist’s perception of her medium of choice, displaces the old companion existential question — Is the end of the book nigh? — with an altogether more interesting one — Where next for the book?

Bridging history, the book arts, and contemporary electronic literature, this volume reminds us that the book is a fluid artifact whose form and usage have shifted over time under numerous influences: social, financial, and technological…. To see where books might be going, we must think of them as objects that have experienced a long history of experimentation and play. Rather than bemoaning the death of books or creating a dichotomy between print and digital media, this guide points to continuities, positioning the book as a changing technology and highlighting the way artists in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have pushed us to rethink and redefine the term. (pp. xiii-xiv)

In The Book, the future is not far from the physical past. Where once we had text on scrolls, now we scroll through text (albeit more vertically than horizontally). Where once human consciousness changed with the invention of the alphabet and writing, now it may be altering with our reading and writing through networked digital devices. Like the many historians before her, Borsuk starts with cuneiform (those wedge-shaped accounting marks on baked clay), hieroglyphics and the invention of the alphabet to set the scene for the advent of the book and its ongoing physicality:

  • its shape (scroll, accordion, codex)
  • its material (papyrus, vellum, paper, charcoal or mineral-based watercolor and ink)
  • its manufacture (scribing, printing by woodblock and movable type, design and typography, illumination and illustration, folding into pages, methods of binding)
  • its constituent and navigational parts (cover, book block, title page, table of contents, page numbering, index).

But — from Sumer’s clay to Amazon’s Kindle, from Johannes Gutenberg to Project Gutenberg — Borsuk reminds us that human artifacts exist in a social, political, technological, economic and even ecological context. Who is allowed to make it, how it is transacted, how and where we use it, how we perceive and speak of it — all have affected the physicality of the book object and are reflected in it. 

In the first half of The Book, Borsuk steers us through these interdependencies to a turning point. That turning point is where the pinnacle of the book arts — Beatrice Warde‘s and Jan Tschichold‘s vision of the book as a crystalline container of content — and the book’s commodification combine to cause the book’s physicality to disappear because it is so taken for granted, leaving us with “the book as idea”.

With the perception that books are ideas bestowed on readers by an authorial genius whose activity is purely intellectual, the book’s object status vanished for much of the reading public as we raised a glass to happily consume its contents…. Even though innumerable material elements come together to make the book, these features have been naturalized to such a degree that we now hardly notice them, since we have come to see content as the copyrightable, consumable, marketable aspect of the work. (pp. 106-9)

At this turning point — where “the historic relationship between materiality and text is severed” (p. 112) — the second half of The Book introduces book art. It is telling that the longest chapter in the book begins the second half, that it is called “The Book as Idea” and that it comes before any extended engagement with the digital dematerialization of the book. It is a wry pivot: the artistic genius supplants the authorial genius; what the latter takes as invisible background, the former re-makes as self-regarding foreground.  As Borsuk shows and her book’s cover neatly demonstrates, works of book art are inevitably self-referential and self-aware.

As such, works of book art

have much to teach us about the changing nature of the book, in part because they highlight the “idea” by paradoxically drawing attention to the “object” we have come to take for granted. They disrupt our treatment of the book as a transparent container for literary and aesthetic “content” and engage its material form in the work’s meaning. (p. 113)

Rather than offer a chronological history of book art to explore what “artists’ books have to teach us about a path forward for the book”, Borsuk offers “flashpoints” that represent “the energies motivating artwork in book form”(p. 117).  These “flashpoints” are William BlakeStéphane Mallarmé, Ed Ruscha and Ulises Carrión. Following these flashpoints, Borsuk organizes the rest of the chapter into “key themes that recur throughout artists’ books of the twentieth century: spatiotemporal play, animation, recombinant structures, ephemerality, silence, and interactivity” (pp. 146-47).

Oddly, the Blakean flashpoint does not illuminate these six particular themes.  Rather Blake and his work represent three other recurrent themes or “energies motivating artwork in book form”: centering or re-centering the production processes on the author/artist; using the book as a sociopolitical and visionary platform; and redefining, developing and challenging the relationship between word and image. In fact, Borsuk notes these additional themes: 

Blake refers to himself as “The Author & Printer W. Blake,” making clear the union of creativity and craft in his work. (p. 121)

Blake’s engagement with the social issues of his day, and his use of book form to respond to child labor, urban squalor, and slavery, established an important trend in both artists’ books and independent publishing—the utility of the book as a means of spreading social justice. (pp. 121, 124)

Blake used his craftsmanship to develop the relationship between word and image (p. 140)

One need not look far among twentieth and twenty-first century book artists for resonance with those themes. That Blakean union of creativity and craft resurfaces in artists such as Ken Campbell (UK), Cathryn Miller (Canada), Pien Rotterdam (Netherlands), Barb Tetenbaum (US) and Xu Bing (China)  — some of them even to the point of carving or setting their own type, making their own paper, pulp printing on it themselves or binding the finished work themselves. Vision and sociopolitical observation have risen up in the works of artists such as Doug Beube (Canada), Julie K. Dodd (UK), Basia Irland (US), Diane Jacobs (US), Anselm Kiefer (Germany) and Chris Ruston (UK). Blake’s redefining the relationship of word (or text) to image often reappears in book artists’ abcedaries and their children’s books such as A Dictionary Story by Sam Winston (UK).  As for emulators of Blake in technical innovation, consider the analogue example of Australian Tim Moseley’s works created with his patented pulp printing process, where the “ink” is actually colored pulp, or the digital example of Borsuk’s work Between Page and Screen, where the pages contain no text—only QR codes that, when scanned with a webcam, activate the text’s appearance on the reader’s browser screen.

For her second flashpoint, Borsuk selects another visionary, Stéphane Mallarmé, who like Blake was reacting to his own perceived Satanic mills draining poetry of its spirituality. With his famous dictum — “everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book” (p. 135) — Mallarmé nudged the book toward pure concept and opened its mystical covers to the Dadaists, Surrealists, Futurists, Vorticists, Lettrists, Conceptualists and biblioclasts. Mallarmé’s Satanic mills dispensed rigid columns of newsprint to the masses and bland expanses of poetry and fiction set by Linotype machines in the neo-classical Didot font. With spatiotemporal play — mixing type sizes and fonts, breaking up the line and even breaking the page — Mallarmé used text to evoke image and, in his view, remake the book as a “spiritual instrument”. His post-humous book-length poem Un coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard (A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance), published in 1897, embodies that vision and continues to cast its flashpoint light across multiple generations of book artists’ efforts. From Marcel Broodthaers in 1969, we have his homage to Un Coup de Dés. From Jérémie Bennequin in 2014, we have his serial “omage” to Broodthaers’ homage. And, most recently, we have the 2015 new bilingual edition A Roll of the Dice by Jeff Clark and Robert Bononno, for which Borsuk provides a perceptive reading.

Where Mallarmé’s flashpoint enlisted his vision alongside the cry “épater le bourgeois” from Baudelaire and other late nineteenth-century poets, Ed Ruscha’s later flashpoint illuminates a democratic counterpoint, a Zen-like vision and a very different way of changing the relationship of text to image. Ruscha’s self-published photobooks were cheap and distributed outside the gallery-controlled channels of art. As Borsuk shows — directly with Ruscha and indirectly with the many book artists influenced by him — the text is restricted to the book’s title, which interacts with a series of deadpan photos and their layout to deliver a wry, tongue-in-cheek work of book art. Ruscha’s spatiotemporal play manifests itself across the accordion book format and out-of-sequence juxtapositions. Ironically Ruscha’s works now command thousands of dollars per copy, and one has more chance of seeing them in an exhibition than in a roadside stop’s rack of newspapers, magazines and mass-market paperbacks.

Display of Ruscha’s Various Small Fires and Milk, 1964, at the Gulbenkian’s Pliure: Prologue (la Part du Feu), 2 February – 12 April 2015, Paris. Photo credit: Robert Bolick
Reflected in the upper right corner, the film clip of Truffaut’s 1966 Fahrenheit 451; in the lower left hand corner, Bruce Nauman’s 1968 Burning Small Fires;  and in the upper left, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva’s 1974 La bibliotheque en feu.

Mexico’s Ulises Carrión — polemicist, European bookshop owner, conceptual artist — is Borsuk’s fourth choice of flashpoints. In several respects, Ruscha and Carrión are counter-flashpoints. Where Ruscha reveled in self-publishing commodification, Carrión sneered at the book in its traditional commercial form. Where Ruscha has resisted the label “conceptual artist”, Carrión played the role to the hilt. Where Ruscha’s work has elicited numerous homages (see Various Small Books from MIT Press in 2013) and achieved a high profile, Carrión’s work, much lower in profile, has provided a more compelling range of hooks or influences on which to hang many different manifestations of book art (or bookworks as Carrión preferred). In fact, Borsuk’s six stated key themes or “energies motivating artwork in book form” come from Carrión’s manifestoes (pp. 146-47).

The first theme — “spatiotemporal play” — comes from Carrión’s initial definition of the book as a “sequence of spaces”, which Borsuk traces to tunnel books, pop-ups and even large-scale constructs, the latter illustrated by American Alison Knowles‘ inhabitable The Big Book (1968). One more possible future of the book implied by spatiotemporal play manifests itself in Borsuk’s own augmented-reality (AR) works, those of Caitlin Fisher (Canada) and Carla Gannis’ Selfie Drawings (2016), in which portraits on the hardcover book’s pages animate and change when viewed through smartphone or tablet.

Borsuk takes the second theme, that of “animation”, from Carrión’s dictum: “Each of these spaces is perceived at a different moment— a book is also a sequence of moments”. As her several examples illustrate, much book art is cinematic. Borsuk’s exposition of Canadian Michael Snow‘s Cover to Cover (1975) comes closest to reproducing the experience I enjoyed of “watching” that photo bookwork from cover to cover several times at the now closed Corcoran Art Gallery. Borsuk is quick and right to remind that the cinematic future of the book has been with us for a long time, even before the cinema. She bookends her exposition of Snow’s book and  and the text animation of American Emmett WilliamsSweethearts (1967) on one side with Victorian flip-books and on the other with American Bob Brown‘s 1930s The Readies (presumably pronounced “reedies” to follow Brown’s comparison of his scrolling one-line texts with the cinema’s “talkies”).  

A forgotten modernist, Brown declared the obsolescence of the book, predicted a new form of reading and technology to enable it, an optical projector emitting text into the ether and directly into the eyeball. But what does this tell us about the future of the book? Borsuk notes Craig Saper‘s resurrection of Brown’s Roving Eye Press and how he even put together a website that emulates Brown’s reading machineIn her phrase describing the machine’s effect of “turning readers themselves into a kind of machine for making meaning” (p. 168), Borsuk hints at a future of digitally interactive books, which she takes up in the next section and more extensively in the next chapter. At this point, however, the reader could use a hint of practicality and skepticism. Linear-one-word-at-a-time reading, however accelerated, eliminates affordances of the page, ignores graphics and strains against the combination of peripheral vision and rapid eye movement we unconsciously (even atavistically?) deploy as we “read” whatever we see. Although in the next section Borsuk does bring on more likely examples of the book’s future exploitation of its cinematic affordances (manga, graphic novels and children’s books), this section’s treatment of animation misses the chance to cite actual recent successes like Moonbot Studios‘ The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2012) and others.

Once into the third theme — “recombinant structure” — it is clear that Borsuk’s chosen Carriónesque themes overlap one another. Like the cinematic, the recombinant structure manifests itself in accordion books. It extends, however, to something more interactive: volvelles (or medieval apps as Erik Kwakkel calls them), interactive pop-ups, harlequinades (flap books) and more.  Borsuk uses Raymond Queneau‘s harlequinade Cent mille milliards de poèmes ( One hundred thousand billion poems, 1961), Dieter Roth‘s slot books and works by Carolee Schneemann to illustrate book art’s celebration of the concept. The fact that Queneau’s book is still easily available on Amazon vouches for book art’s predictive qualities. The example of Marc Saporta’Composition No. 1 (Éditions du Seuil, 1962), “a box of 150 leaves printed on only one side that the reader is instructed to shuffle at the outset”, goes Queneau one better —ironically.  In 2011, Visual Editions reissued Composition No. 1 in print and app forms. Alas, the former is out of print, and the latter is no longer available for download.

Composition No. 1 (2011)
Marc Saporta
Translation by Richard Howard, Introduction by T.L. Uglow, Google Creative Lab, Diagrams by Salvador Plascencia and Designed by Universal Everything Photo credit: Robert Bolick

Borsuk draws her fifth theme — ephemerality — from Carrión’s dictum: 

I firmly believe that every book that now exists will eventually disappear. And I see here no reason for lamentation. Like any other living organism, books will grow, multiply, change color, and, eventually, die. At the moment, bookworks represent the final phase of this irrevocable process. Libraries, museums, archives are the perfect cemeteries for books. (p. 145)

She begins with the physical biblioclasts — those who in Doug Beube‘s phrase are “breaking the codex“. They include Beube himself, Bruce Nauman (see above), Brian Dettmer, Cai Guo-Qiang, Marcel DuchampDieter Roth and Xu Bing. While some of these artists reflect a twenty-first century surge of interest in altered books and book sculpture, “facilitated by the overarching notion that the book is an artifact not long for this world” (pp.82-84), others have taken a more generative archaeological approach — erasing or cutting away a book’s words to reveal another. Examples include Tom Phillips‘ A Humument (1966-2014) and Jonathan Safran Foer‘s Tree of Codes (2010). Phillips’ bookwork serves multiple purposes for Borsuk’s arguments.  Not only does it represent the book art of “erasure”, its success across multiple editions, digital formats and presence in art galleries supports her notion of book arts’ predictive qualities.

There is a variant on her theme that Borsuk does not illustrate and is worth consideration for her next edition: the self-destructing yet regenerative work of book art. Examples could include American Basia Irland‘s series ICE BOOKS: Ice receding/Books reseeding (2007-), which gives a formidably tangible and new meaning to “publishing as dissemination”; and Canadian Cathryn Miller‘s tail-chasing Recomp (2014); and Argentinian Pequeño Editor‘s Mi Papa Estuvo en la Selva (2015), which after reading can be planted to grow into a jacaranda tree.

Recomp (2014)
Cathryn Miller
Copy of Decomp, Collis and Scott (2013) nailed to a tree. Photo credit: David G. Miller
Recomp (2015)
Photo credit: David G. Miller
Recomp vandalized (2015)
Photo credit: David G. Miller

The last section in this chapter expands on the sixth theme — the book as mute object — drawn from Carrión’s statement:

The most beautiful and perfect book in the world is a book with only blank pages, in the same way that the most complete language is that which lies beyond all that the words of a man can say. Every book of the new art is searching after that book of absolute whiteness in the same way that every poem searches for silence.  Ulises Carrión, Second Thoughts (1980), pp. 15-16.

Among her several examples are Pamela Paulsrud‘s Touchstones (2007-10), which look like stones but are books sanded-down into stone-like shapes, and Scott McCarney‘s 1988 Never Read (Opposed to Ever Green), a sculpture composed of stacked library discards that narrows as it ascends.  Paulsrud’s, McCarney’s, Irland’s and Miller’s works are what Borsuk calls “muted objects”, but they speak and signify nevertheless: 

Muted books take on a totemic [metaphoric] significance…. The language of the book as a space of fixity, certainty, and order reminds us that the book has been transmuted into an idea and ideal based on the role it plays in culture…. Defining the book involves consideration for its use as much as its form. (pp. 193-95)

 

Never Read (Opposed to Ever Green) (1988)
Scott McCarney
Reproduced with permission of the artist
Never Read (Opposed to Ever Green) (1988)
Scott McCarney
Reproduced with permission of the artist
Never Read (Opposed to Ever Green) (1988)
Scott McCarney
Reproduced with permission of the artist

Borsuk is a superb stylist of the sentence and expository structure. The words above, concluding chapter three, launch the reader into Borsuk’s final and unifying metaphor: “The Book as Interface”. Owners of Kindles, buyers from Amazon, perusers of Facebook — we may think we know what’s coming next in The Book and for the book, but Borsuk pushes the reader to contemplate the almost real-time evolutionary change we have seen with ebook devices and apps, audiobooks, the ascension of books to the cloud via Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive and Google Books, and their descent to Brewster Kahle‘s physical back-up warehouse (to be sited in Canada in light of recent political events) and into flattening ebook sales of late. Chapter 4 is a hard-paced narrative of the book’s digital history from the Memex in Vannevar Bush‘s 1945 classic “As we may think” to T.L. Uglow‘s 100-author blockchain collaboration in 2017, A Universe Explodes from Visual Editions’ series Editions at Play.

Borsuk reminds us:

Our current moment appears to be much like the first centuries of movable type, a cusp. Just as manuscript books persisted into the Gutenberg era, books currently exist in multiple forms simultaneously: as paperbacks, audiobooks, EPUB downloads, and, in rare cases, interactive digital experiences. (p. 244)

Borsuk weaves into this moment of the book’s future a reminder that print affordances such as tactility (or the haptic) and the paratextual (those peripheral elements like page numbers, running heads, ISBNs, etc., that Gary Frost argues “make the book a book”) have been finding fresh ways into the way we read digitally. The touchscreen enables us to read between the lines literally in the novella Pry (2014) by Samantha Gorman and Danny Cannizaro (2014). Breathe (2018) by Kate Pullinger, another work in the Editions at Play series, uses GPS to detect and insert the reader’s location, the time and weather, and when the reader tilts the device or rubs the screen, hidden messages from the story’s (the reader’s?) ghosts appear.

At this point, an earlier passage from The Book should haunt the reader:

Artists’ books continually remind us of the reader’s role in the book by forcing us to reckon with its materiality and, by extension, our own embodiment. Such experiments present a path forward for digital books, which would do well to consider the affordances of their media and the importance of the reader, rather than treating the e-reader as a Warde-ian crystal goblet for the delivery of content. (p. 147)

Borsuk convinces. Art, artifact, concept — wrought by hand and mind, hands and minds — the book is our consensual tool and toy for surviving beyond our DNA. So now what? Metaphor, hints and historical flashpoints may illuminate where we have been, how it shows up in contemporary books and book art and where we may be going with it. In ten or one hundred years though, how will a book publisher become a book publisher? Given the self-publishing capability today’s technology offers, will anyone with a file on a home computer and an internet connection consider himself or herself a book publisher? Borsuk thinks not:

The act of publication — of making public — is central to our cultural definition of the book. Publication might presume some cultural capital: some editorial body has deemed this work worthy of print. It might also presume an audience: a readership clamors for this text. But on a fundamental level, publication presumes the appendage of elements outside the text that help us recognize it as a book, even when published in digital form. (pp. 239-40)

How will future book publishers learn to master the appendage of these elements outside the text (the paratext) that make a book a book “even when published in digital form”? Borsuk’s commentary on the ISBN as one of these elements sheds oblique light on that. She points to the artist Fiona Banner’s uses of the ISBN under her imprint/pseudonym Vanity Press — tattooing one one her lower back, publishing a series Book 1/1 (2009) consisting of sixty-five ISBN’d pieces of mirrored cardstock and then collecting them in a photobook entitled ISBN 978-1-907118-99-9 in order to deposit those one-offs with the British Library as required by the UK’s Legal Deposit Libraries Act. What can a future ebook publisher deduce from this?

That the use of a globally unique identifier (GUID) matters.

The backstory of the transition from ISBN10 to ISBN13 and that of ebooks, ISBNs and Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) might provide interesting fodder. The notion that the book industry was running out of 10-digit ISBNs was a red herring used to convince industry executives to adopt the more widely used format of unique identifiers overseen by GS1. The real reason for moving to ISBN13 — reduced friction in the supply chain — was too hard to sell. About the same time, some major publishers proposed incorporating the ISBN into the DOI for an industry-standard ebook identifier.  The DOI offered an existing digital, networked infrastructure already being used by most of the world’s scientific, technical and medical journals publishers. It is an offshoot of the Handle System, established by Robert Kahn. Sad to say, few book publishers adopted the DOI for their ebooks; still fewer used the DOI’s application- and network-friendliness to enable their ebooks to take advantage of the network’s digital affordances.

The DOI shares with the ISBN a feature that Borsuk points out as a limitation to more widespread use: it is not free. A significant percentage of ebooks exist without ISBNs, much less DOIs. If a digital GUID is to be used in ways that help us recognize the identified digital object as a book, future book publishers and their providers of a network ecosystem supporting ebooks, linking with the print ecosystem and reducing friction in the supply chain still have wide gaps in commerce and knowledge to close. Perhaps this particular paratextual element is unnecessary for the book’s digital future, but until those gaps are narrowed, the ecosystem for eBooks will remain balkanized by Amazon, Apple, Google, Lulu and the more digitally literate denizen of the print publishing industry. In the meantime, as Borsuk’s examples throughout her book show, there are boundless other print and digital affordances with which publishers, authors, editors, designers, typographers, developers and readers can play as they continue to shape the book.

The Book‘s publication month, June 2018, is auspicious, being the same for the Getty Center’s exhibition “Artists and Their Books/Books and Their Artists“, June 26 – October 28. The Center and MIT Press would do well to have stacks of The Book on hand.  The Book will also serve as an excellent introductory textbook for courses on book art or the history of the book.  And by virtue of its style and artist’s perspective, Borsuk’s book will appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in this essential technology of civilization and its growing role as a material and focus of art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 

Bookmark: The Art of Reading in a “Post-Text Future”

Did you read on New York Times Interactive how text is succumbing to the sound and blurry of podcasts, YouTube, talking assistants, Netflix, face-reading phones, Instagram and augmented reality? We are passing through an internet portal turning our evolution from orality to literacy in on itself — where “text recedes to the background, and sounds and images become the universal language”.

Welcome to the post-text future.

The seemingly unintentional irony of delivering the welcome by text rather than by podcast or tweeted looping video meme undermines the hyperventilation a bit. But we should not roll our eyes and move on. The NYTI journalists are reminding us to pay attention.

Our literacy has always been multimodal (read and hear the orality in the opening text of Genesis in the The Douay Version). With each new medium it rapidly becomes more multimodal.  In Ringing the Changes on “The End of Books”, there’s the tongue-in-cheek evidence from 1894.

“The End of Books”, Scribner’s Magazine (August 1894)
Louis Octave Uzanne

In Literacies, Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, trace its occurrence back to the mid-twentieth century age of radio and television.  And not that long ago (2012), Amazon released Immersion Reading, enabling audio in sync with ebook reading.Leaving aside the apocalyptic speculation on the fate of letters, we should take the point: our literacies are entangled and evolve together. Putting the more scholarly view of differences between orality and text alongside the post-text Futurists’ observations about tweets, memes and other social media, we can see why we would benefit from closer attention to that entanglement and evolution.

Here is Walter J. Ong:

Oral folk prefer, especially in formal discourse, not the soldier, but the brave soldier; not the princess, but the beautiful princess; not the oak, but the sturdy oak. Oral expression thus carries a load of epithets and other formulary baggage which high literacy rejects as cumbersome and tiresomely redundant because of its aggregative weight … (Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. London: Methuen, 1982, pp.31, 37-49).

Here is the post-text future:

An information system dominated by pictures and sounds prizes emotion over rationality. It’s a world where slogans and memes have more sticking power than arguments. — Farhad Manjoo

Here is Ong:

Writing fosters abstractions that disengage knowledge from the arena where human beings struggle with one another. It separates the knower from the known. By keeping knowledge embedded in the human lifeworld, orality situates knowledge within a context of struggle.

Here is the post-text future:

Doyle Canning, who wrote a book on using memes for political movements and co-founded the Center for Story-Based Strategy, said people have now realized memes are replacing nuanced political debate.

“People in 2016 declined to take seriously the impact of the memes and clung to this narrative that rational policy discourse would triumph, … And it didn’t.”

“Now politics,” she said, is just “a battle of the memes.” Nellie Bowles

These comparisons/contrasts underscore Kalantzis’ and Cope’s educational earnestness about the importance of teaching to these entangled and evolving literacies as perhaps the only systematic means we have of offering children social equity and a chance at social equality. Imbuing their literacies with critical thinking skills is paramount. The art of living depends on the art of reading.

At the Museum Meermanno in The Hague, you can step into this increasingly busy intersection of literacies at an exhibition called The Art of Reading.  The exhibition is divided into six rooms labeled “Reading is Turning the Page”, “Reading is Seeing”, Reading is Touching”, “Reading is Remembering”, “Reading is Concentrating” and “Reading is Reacting”. Unusually the art is not simply on display. Touching is allowed. Paul van Capelleveen, one of the curators organizing the show, insisted that each work be touchable. As a curator at the Dutch national library and advisor to the Museum Meermanno (The House of the Book), he felt strongly that the challenges of multimodal literacy cannot be understood “under glass”.

2nd Hand Reading (2014)
William Kentridge

Physicality or the haptic is an affordance that print literacy lords over digital literacy. We know where we are in a print book because we can feel as well as see where we are. Welcome then to the first room “Reading is Turning the Page”, where William Kentridge turns the tables on that claim. As you watch the “film of the book” across the room, you can try your hand at flipping the pages of the physical copy like a flipbook to mimic the video. Look closely though. The page numbers are not sequential.

2nd Hand Reading (2014)
Page 2388 then 2390?

And the entries are not in alphabetical order.

2nd Hand Reading (2014)
“Inquest” before “Heterogenesis”?

When the order of text, numerals, narrative and images collide, we are left with the literacy of art — be it digital or physical. Which brings you to the next room: “Reading is Touching”.

The Lost Men Project (2006)
Paul Emmanuel
The Lost Men Project (2006)
Paul Emmanuel

The names of South African soldiers, both black and white, killed in the First World War, are set in hot metal type then impressed without ink on flesh. Photographed and filmed, the names fade away. In the exhibition, a voice from the touchscreen device repeats, “Touch me, touch me”. Each touch upon the screen — on the skin before you —  advances the work running as a video on the touchscreen. Touching is the only way to read all of the names of the dead as they fade away. This work is but one of several that make up The Lost Men Project

Like a Pearl in My Hand (2017)
Carina Hesper

In this room of touch, you move from sorrow to sorrow. Glass and ink do not separate you from them very much.

Two pages from Like a Pearl in My Hand

To read the pages of Like a Pearl in My Hand, you must rest your hands on them then lift your hands away.

The face revealed on each page is the face of a blind or visually impaired child in a Chinese orphanage. As you read the page, the face fades into blackness.

The artist’s book is associated with Bethel China, a charity for the visually impaired. Click on the image above to visit the charity’s site.

The next room is “Reading is Seeing”.

Were the curators being tone deaf with this juxtaposition?  No, it is the bluntness and earnestness of recognition that literacies and our sensibilities are jumbled up.  The literacy of art does that. It can move us from somberness to whimsy and back. The first work in this room of sight is a children’s flashlight (or torch) book; the next, a device for the visually impaired; the next, an augmented reality app on iPads.

Hide & Eek! (2013)
Rebecca Sutherland

OrCam MyEye 2.0 (2017)
Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram
An artificial vision device with a lightweight smart camera that instantly reads text aloud –in this case, a poem by Gerrit Achterberg (Kinderangst or Childhood Fear).

The curators deftly paced the impact of these rooms. Something from the one before lingers with you in the next, or something in the next reminds you of the one before.

“Reading is Remembering” is the next room. Here the artists play with re-membering text vs dis-membering text, recalling vs forgetting, excavating vs filling in, deconstructing to reconstruct, destroying to create.

A Excavation, A Reading (2013)
Rick Myers

Rick Myers was commissioned by the Onassis Cultural Center to commemorate the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy. The work he proposed required permission to obtain Pentelic marble fragments (quarrying is restricted for the purpose of restoring the Acropolis) and grinding them into dust. He then sourced four different translations of Cavafy’s poem “Before the Statue of Endymion”, arranged a reading and recording of each, and, for each, cut a stencil. The chronologically first translation’s stencil was positioned on stretched plastic film suspended over speakers.  The marble dust was sifted onto the black plastic through the stencil, leaving the legible white text on the black background with which the video starts after the credits above. As the recording of the chronologically second translation plays, the sound’s vibration obliterates the  marble dust words of the first translation. Then comes the turn of the second stenciled translation to be obliterated by the third’s recorded reading. And so on.

An instant from “An Excavation, A Reading” (2013)
Rick Myers

Here, then, is a work of art that simultaneously endorses and refutes the premise that text recedes in favor of some new universal language of sound and image. It is a textual palimpsest in motion where sound dissipates the text of the past, making way for the next version of the text to be dissipated by the sound of the third and the text of the third to be dissipated by the sound of the fourth. A moment of the work is captured in Victoria Bean and Chris McCabe’s The New Concrete (see below). The work runs a little over three minutes, excerpts can be found here, but the experience under the exhibition room’s banner provides an unsurpassable frame for the work.

An Excavation, A Reading (2013)
Rick Myers
From The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century, Edited by Victoria Bean and Chris McCabe. London: Hayward Publishing, 2015

Inspired by The Royal Road Test by Ed Ruscha, Mason Williams and Patrick Blackwell (the crew that filmed a Royal typewriter being thrown out of a Buick travelling at 90mph), Simon Morris had seventy-eight students cut out all of the words from Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams.  On Sunday, June 1st, 2003, he “threw the words out of the window of a Renault Clio Sport on Redbridge Road, Crossways, Dorset, traveling at a speed of 90mph, approximately 122 miles southwest of Freud’s psychoanalytical couch in London. The action freed the words from the structural unity of Freud’s text as it subjected them to an ‘aleatory moment’ – a seemingly random act of utter madness.” The work on display consists of a Ruscha-like book (right down to the plastic spiral binding) and a film of the epic literary littering.

The Royal Road to the Unconscious (2003)
Simon Morris

If you are expecting the next room — “Reading is Concentrating” — to help you gather any scattered thoughts or words, think again.

Marinus van Dijke’s work draws your eye and ear first. Chickens clucking and strutting onscreen, superimposed small white circles the size of a chicken’s eye jerking and gliding across the screen, a sheet of paper being laid over the screen (ah, it’s a screen within a screen), and then a hand with pen enters the frame, picks a circle and, trying to track it, leaves a scrawl on the paper.

Eye (2013)
Marinus van Dijke
Eye (2013)
Marinus van Dijke

Van Dijke’s work echoes Jan Dibbets’ Robin Redbreast’s Territory: Sculpture 1969, April — June, which Germano Celant included in his Book as Artwork show in 1973. Like the deliberate echo of Morris/Ruscha, this chance echo of Van Dijke/Dibbets recalls the grounding of  contemporary textual and book art in the conceptualism of the 1960s/70s.

Robin Redbreast’s Territory: Sculpture 1969, April — June (1970)
Jan Dibbets

Dibbets documented the flight patterns of this highly territorial bird and presented that in a book as a conceptualization of an “as if” sculpture drawn in space.

Robin Redbreast’s Territory: Sculpture 1969, April — June (1970)
Jan Dibbets

There was admittedly some “artistic license” in Dibbets’ documentation — somewhat the same as when Van Dijke’s tracing pen cannot keep up with the peripatetic circles, which are projections of the chickens’ eye movements as they hunt for food.

“Reading is Reacting” is the last room. Here it seems that printed text comes out on top. Over in one corner is a Dutch encyclopedia, stacked vertically four feet high.

In the opposite corner, on shelves from floor to ceiling, is the Dutch version of Michael Mandiberg’s Print Wikipedia. The paperbacks scattered on the display table began their textual lives online. 

Print Wikipedia (Dutch edition, 2016)
Michael Mandiberg
Jack
Tweetbundel (2015)
Jan Dirk van der Burg
Unsolicited autobiography created from the subject’s Twitter feed.

Although printed text seems to be having the last word, attend to the curators’ last words on your way out:

Reading and writing have become increasingly open arenas: there are more readers than ever before, there are more books and publication outlets, which can reach vast readerships thanks to the internet. Readers feel more empowered and are able to combine or alter texts found online. Readers become writers. Online texts have therefore come to resemble oral literature, in that they are constantly changing and being passed on from one person to another, retold — sometimes differently. They are unstable and at the same time highly accessible.

Text in books appear to be fixed, but annotations and deletions change the printed text, just as editorial changes alter a page on the internet…. Even so, printed texts are in principle less changeable than those posted online. This makes them appear inviolable and irrefutable. Some people fear that young people believe everything they read on the internet. That is nothing new. Philosophers from Socrates to Locke thought that written or printed texts would be accepted as the absolute truth.

Where do we stand today? … How reading will develop in the future is unclear, but one thing is sure: connection and interaction will be key to that development.

Leaving The Art of Reading and thinking again about a post-text future, you can be sure of one other thing: the art of living will still depend on the art of reading.

Bookmarking Book Art – “Darkness Visible”, Sam Winston’s performative installation

Sam Winston’s Darkness Visible at the Southbank Centre aims to give its “viewers”/participants a taste of what the artist has experienced during seven-day stretches of living and working in his studio plunged in total darkness. Despite the title being taken from one of the best of blind John Milton’s lines in Paradise Lost (“No light, but rather darkness visible Served only to discover sights of woe.”), Winston’s work has little to do with blindness and even less so with hell.

Come along and see.

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Entrance to the commissioned dark room on Level 5 of the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre

The weighted black curtain I pushed aside swept quickly closed behind me. I fumbled to find the parting in the second black curtain and, briefly switching on then off the flashlight provided by the attendant, found my place on a bench in darkness.  Two young women stifled nervous giggles as we waited for the first recorded poet to speak. It was surprising how time seems to stretch in the darkness.

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Second curtained entrance
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Interior of the commissioned dark room

It seemed a long time before my eyes’ biophotonic activity from staring and blinking settled down. Then my peripheral vision picked up a leak of light in the lower right hand corner of the booth. At first I felt an urge to turn toward the light, but then an urge to look up and to the left toward more profound darkness took over. I thought of holding up my hand in front of my face, but did not. I wanted to see the dark, not what I knew I couldn’t see. I wondered why my ears also seemed, at first, to want a silence as profound as the dark but then accepted almost any sound as part of the darkness.

George Szirtes began to speak his twelve strophes of plain lines, at least the ones that were not muffled seemed plain (“I have not talked about blindness./ I can’t see how I could”) and reminded me in the darkness of Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” (“It was evening all afternoon”). Then silence, broken by a train or trains crossing the Thames. Kayo Chingonyi, second to speak, intoned words of praise, again difficult to follow on this one-off hearing, which allowed another poem to intrude, W.S. Merwin’s “For the Anniversary of My Death” and its last line “And bowing not knowing to what”. Then silence, broken by an announcement from the nearby auditorium telling theatre-goers to return to their seats and an airliner passing. Emily Berry, the third poet, innovated with a snatch of the hymn “Jerusalem” and uhms and uhs to mimic her words groping in the dark against a “continuous hum” and finally stopped mid sentence, the overall effect being to evoke Denise Levertov’s “O taste and see“. Another silence, now broken by a child squealing (laughing or shrieking?) somewhere in the building, by more giggling until one then the other young woman parted the curtains to leave, breaking the darkness briefly.  My eyes “readjusted” to the dark — that is, accepted it and again looked into it without seeking light. I re-membered in it half the image I’d seen of the recently invented carbon nanotubes surface. If you wondered, as I did, how the artist managed

Untitled
Mask coated (and uncoated) with Vantablack S-VIS
SurreyNanoSystems

the unrelenting darkness for a week, he has written about it here and spoken of it here.

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Darkness Visible installation (2017)
Sam Winston
Text piece on walls and floor
Three months of transcribing sensations outside of sight. Starting with sounds and touch (wall) then moving into abstracted thoughts and emotion (floor)
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Detail of Darkness Visible (2017)
Sam Winston
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Darkness Visible (2017)
Sam Winston
Installation at Southbank Centre, London

Being reminded of other poems in the darkness, I was also reminded of two other artists (Maloney and Beuys) who had locked themselves away in pursuit of creativity. So I wondered whether there was a some tradition of this and, on the train home, searched and found:

Martin Maloney’s Intervention (Five Days and Five Nights at the Galerie MTL) (1971);

Joseph Beuys and his overnight stay with a coyote in a locked room, resulting in America Likes Me and I Like America (1974);

Het Observatorium’s Dwelling for Seclusion — New York (1997), “a pavilion erected in the gardens of Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island, New York City, [that] arose from the desire to place art at the service of an individual experience of quietness, seclusion and prolonged observation”;

Alan O’Cain’s Hunting Schiele (2012), drawings, writings and a web recording of their creation during the artist’s overnight stay, locked in the cell where Egon Schiele was imprisoned in Neulengenbach in 1912.

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Untitled/ 7 days blind (2016)
Sam Winston
Coloured Luminance pencils on Fabriano Artistico paper
Drawn in complete darkness over seven day & nights
(In this work, Winston restricted himself to red, green and blue pencils to mirror the red-green-blue sensitive cones of the eye.)
fullsizeoutput_6e8
Untitled/7 days blind (2015)
Sam Winston
Graphite crayon and pencil on Fabriano Artistico paper
Drawn in complete darkness over seven days & nights

In a way, Sam Winston is Walt Whitman-like — expansively absorbing this tradition and its future: like those of Maloney, Beuys and O’Cain, Winston’s “aktion” has yielded tangible works of his own in multiple forms; like Het Observatorium, Winston has created a participative space for its audience and invited creators. How will any artists ever close themselves off, invite others in, without taking account of Darkness Visible?

Yet, he is utterly unlike Whitman: in the non-egocentric generosity of Darkness Visible, rooted in a genius for sharing, evident in the planned immersive performance with photographer Andy Sewell, composer Jamie Perera and film-maker Anna Price  (with live readings by poets Emily Berry, Kayo Chingonyi and George Szirtes) scheduled for 11 January 2018 at the Whitechapel Gallery. Somehow Winston’s “darkness visible” is not an invitation to influence, just an invitation to creativity.

Where this generosity and genius come from is hard to say, but it seems hardly an accident that much book art and many artists’ books have been the fruit of collaborative effort.

 

Bookmarking Book Art – An Online Annotation of Germano Celant’s “Book as Artwork 1960/1972”

Where to go to compare and contrast the book art in Germano Celant’s pioneering “catalogue” of the Nigel Greenwood Gallery exhibition in London (1972) with that of the last half century?

Being a sort of small and portable catalogue and curator’s explanation for the gallery’s exhibition of ca. 300 works, Celant’s Book as Artwork is arranged chronologically and then alphabetically by artist. Presumably it was organized to match the exhibition’s organization (note the year 1967 in upper left of the photograph below and the distinctive Hidalgo cover, fifth from the left). With no photographs of the works, Book as Artwork gives no easily accessible visual sense of the 300 works in that exhibition. If we had that starting visual touchpoint, it would be easier to “place” the period or individual works in relation to book art from the 80’s onward.

Book as Artwork 1960 – 1972 – Exhibition Nigel Greenwood Gallery B, 1972..

 

Stephen Bury’s Artists’ Books: The Book as a Work of Art, 1963 – 2000 (2015) includes, by design, only a handful of the artists and works selected for the Celano/Greenwood exhibition.

Lucy Lippard’s Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972 (1973, 1997) — a “bibliography into which are inserted a fragmented text, art works, documents, interviews, and symposia, arranged chronologically” — comes as close as one might hope in black-and-white print for a starting visual touchpoint. Lippard’s scope, however, ranges beyond book art, so the number illustrated limits systematic visual comparison and contrast with the book art of the ensuing decades.

Phaidon’s Artists Who Make Books (2017) provides good coverage and bridges the 1960s to the 21st century. The essays and descriptions bring the book art off the page and into the mind’s hands.

Best of all is Lynda Morris’s mini-memoir of her role in organizing the Celant/Greenwood exhibition.

Germano had sent Nigel [Greenwood] a wonderful, arty handwritten letter in pink capitals … on December 22, 1970:

DEAR PUBLISHER I AM PREPARING FOR A NEW INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE A COMPLETE ANTHOLOGY OF BOOKS MADE DIRECTLY BY ARTISTS. 

…Nigel had met Germano and had his telephone number in Genoa. I was sitting beside him when he phoned and proposed Book as Artwork exhibition for September 1972. Germano immediately agreed.

For sources of book art since the close of the Celant/Greenwood exhibition, we are spoilt for choice. Print and digital, image-rich aggregations of book art abound. We can return to the Phaidon and Bury books. We can turn to the well-illustrated print and online publications from the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of Western England, online library collections such as the MassArt Library or Chicago’s School of the Art Institute, the websites of dealers such as Zucker Art Books displaying their wares, the dozens of websites for recurring book art fairs such as International Artist’s Books Triennial Vilnius (1997 – present) and CODEX International Book Fair (2007 – present) and community sites such as Artist Books 3.0. Present-day online access challenges Mallarmé’s dictum: ”Everything in the world exists to end up in a book.” Now it seems:

Everything in the world exists to end up on the web.

As far as that premise holds, this annotation and rearrangement of Celant’s bibliography — a “webliography” — offers an online starting point for connecting the book as artwork 1960/1972 with the book as artwork since. In providing some images of the works and links to images, the webliography offers anyone interested in book art the means to gain a more colored impression of the period’s book art.  That the primary impression is still black and white underscores the impact of xerographic technology on artists then as well as that of conceptualism driven by text or photograph. A webliographic approach also offers the opportunity to link the book art of the Celant exhibition with book-oriented Web-art or Net-art such as that of Amaranth Borsuk, Taeyoon Choi, Gunnar Green, Johannes Heldén, Bernhard Hopfengärtner and many others referenced below.

The reorganization here of Celant’s and Morris’s list — by artist alphabetically then chronologically — makes it easier to see the curators’ tendencies in selection as well as the influence of practical factors. The curators’ selection is obviously more Western, less Eastern European and even less Middle Eastern and Asian. Individuals’ prodigality surely played a role in whom and what was included. As Morris’s essay in the Phaidon book reveals, the geographical proximity of works available to be chosen played a role; so, too, the influence of the then-contemporary art network played a role (Atkinson, Beuys, Celant, Dwan, Greenwood, Hansjorg Mayer, Walther König, Maenz, Siegelaub, Sperone and the many other personalities of the Art-Language, Arte Povera, Conceptualist and Fluxus movements); and even the size of suitcases and availability of transport for bringing the artwork into the UK played a role. 

Generally the online links for the artists’/authors’ names lead to biographies, either in their official websites, Wikipedia or other news sources. Where an artist/author is listed multiple times, the links vary from instance to instance to provide a wider range of information about the individual and, in some cases (such as Dieter Rot’s), more images. The links behind the publishers’ names go to publishers’ websites or Wikipedia entries about them. The links that follow each entry resolve to images of the work, videos, audio, interviews or essays relevant to the work. For selected entries in Celant’s list, a compare/contrast takes the user to websites or works whose juxtaposition might shed light on the similarities or differences between the item in Celant’s list and book art of the subsequent decades.

The webliography also supports the haptically as well as digitally inclined. The links behind the titles of the works provide information on the nearest library location of the work (although not all titles could be located).  Be sure to enter your own location and refresh the results. And when you visit, be sure to take a copy of Germano Celant’s little book, which, thanks to 6 Decades Books is possible by download and, thanks to online used-book sellers, can still be purchased in print.

βΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσ

A “webliography” for

Germano Celant’s Books as Artworks 1960/1972

2nd edition, published by 6 Decades Books, 2010, and 1st edition published by Nigel Greenwood, Inc., 1972.

______. Manifestos. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1966. [Contributors: Ay-OPhilip CornerRobert FilliouJohn GiornoAl HansenDick HigginsAllan KaprowAlison KnowlesNam June PaikDiter RotJerome RothenbergWolf VostellRobert Watts, and Emmett Williams] [Images] [Compare/contrast with Jessica Lack’s Why Are We ‘Artists’?: 100 World Art Manifestos]

Acconci, Vito. Transference: Roget’s Thesaurus. New York: 0 to 9 Books, 1969. [Image] [Video] [Essay] [Compare/contrast with Sam Winston’s Darwin, 2015]

Agnetti, Vincenzo. 14 Proposizioni sul Linguaggio Portatile. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1972. [originally published in Flash Art]

Andre, Barry, Huebler, Kosuth, LeWitt, Morris and Weiner.  The Xerox Book. New York: Seth Siegelaub, Jack Wendler, 1968. [Image] [Video, Jack Wendler] [Compare/contrast with Michael Mandiberg’s Print Wikipedia, 2015, and Paul Soulellis’ Library of the Printed Web, 2013 to present]

Andre, Carl. Seven Books of Notes and Poetry. New York: Dwan Gallery/Seth Siegelaub, 1969. [Images] [Essay on artist] [Video, Carl Andre] [Video, retrospective] [Compare/contrast with Sam Winston’s Dictionary Story Book, 2014]

Anselmo, Giovanni. Leggere. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1972. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Leilei Guo’s The Way, 2008]

Art & Language. Olivet Discourse. Paris: Templon Editeur, 1971. [Image]

Atkinson, Terry; Baldwin, Michael. Frameworks-Air Conditioning. Coventry: Art & Language Press, 1967. [Image] [Essay] [Video of Baldwin and Ramsden, Chicago symposium] [Compare/contrast with Taeyoon Choi’s “Zero & One”, 2017]

Art & Language – Poster for Air-Conditioning Show, 1971-1972
Colección MACBA. Consorcio MACBA. Depósito Philippe Méaille.

 

Atkinson, Terry; Baldwin, Michael. Hot-Warm-Cool-Cold. Coventry: Art & Language Press, 1967. [Image]

Atkinson, Terry; Baldwin, Michael. 22 Sentences: The French Army. Coventry: Precinct Publications, 1968. [Image]

Atkinson, Terry; Baldwin, Michael. Sunnybank. Coventry: Art & Language Press, 1969. [Image] [Compare/contrast with M.L. Van Nice’s Feast is in the Belly of the Beholder, 2010]

Atkinson, Terry; Baldwin, Michael. Theories of Ethics. New York: Art & Language Press, 1971. [Image]

Atkinson, Terry; Bainbridge, David; Baldwin, Michael; Harrison, Charles; Hurrell, Harold; Kosuth, Joseph. Art-Language. Cologne: Dumont Schauberg, 1972. [Essay] [Essay]

Image result for art & language: texte zum phänomen kunst und sprache [book]

Baldessari, John. Ingres and Other Parables. London: Studio International, 1972. [Image]

Baldessari, John. Choosing: Green Beans. Milan: Edizioni Toselli, 1972. [Images][Compare/contrast with George Gessert’s Natural Selection, 1994]

Baldwin, Michael; Hurrell, Harold. Handbook to Ingot. New York, Coventry: Art & Language Press, 1971. [Image] [Video of Baldwin and Ramsden]

Barry, Robert. ”   “. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1970. [Images] [Essay] [Compare/contrast with Elisabeth Tonnard’s The Invisible Book, 2012]

Barry, Robert. Robert Barry 1969-71. Cologne: Gerd de Vries, 1971. [Compare/contrast with Elisabeth Tonnard’s A Dialogue in Useful Phrases, 2010]

Barry, Robert. Something Which Is…(30 Pieces as of 14th June 1971). Cologne: Paul Maenz, 1971. [Image]

Barry, Robert. Two Pieces. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1971.[Images]

Baruchello, Gianfranco. Mi viene in mente. Milan: Edizioni Galleria Schwarz, 1966. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Xu Bing’s Book from the Ground, 2014]

Bechner, Bernd & Hilla. Anonyme Skulpturen. Dusseldorf: Städtische Kunsthalle Verlag, 1970.  [Image] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Anselm Kiefer’s The Rhine, 1992-2013, and Helen Malone’s Ten Books on Architecture, 2012]

Blake, John. John Blake : recent work, 1969-71 : a travelling exhibition arranged by the Circulation Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1972. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Anouk Kruithof’s The Daily Exhaustion, 2010]

Bochner, Mel;  Cherix, ChristopheWorking Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to Be Viewed As Art: Visual Arts Gallery, School of Visual Arts,December 2 – December 23, 1966 [New York]. Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 1997. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Johanna Drucker’s All: the Books I Never Wrote or Wrote and Never Published, 1962 to 2017]

Bochner, Mel. The Singer Notes. New York: Self-published, 1968. [Images] [Compare/contrast Bochner’s notes and drawings resulting from conversations with scientists and engineers at Singer Labs in New Jersey with the Smithsonian Libraries’ online exhibition Science and the Artist’s Book, 1995]

Bochner, Mel. Misunderstandings (A Theory of Photography). New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images]

Bochner, Mel. Notes on Theory. Kingston, RI: University of Rhode Island, 1971. [Image]

Bochner, Mel. 11 Excerpts (1967 – 1970). Paris: Edition Sonnabend, 1972. [Images]

Boshier, Derek. 16 Situations. London: Idea Books, 1971. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Sascha Pohflepp’s and Chris Woebken’s Situated Sampling Set, 2017]

Derek Boshier, Situation 1 (from the ‘16 Situations’ series), photograph, 1971
See The Courtauld Institute blog.

 

Boyle, Mark. Journey to the Surface of the Earth. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1970. [Images and book by J.L. Locher] [Compare/contrast with New England Guild of Book Workers’ Geographies: New England Book Work, 2014]

Brecht, George. Fluxus No. 1 March 1964. New York: Valise eTRangLE, 1964. [Images]

Brecht, George. Chance-Imagery. New York: Something Else Press, 1966. [Images, including facsimiles] [Compare/contrast with Barb Tetenbaum’s and Julie Chen’s Artist’s Book Ideation Cards, 2013, and Paul Soulellis’s Chancebook #1 (Why Does It Hurt So Bad), 2013]

Brecht, George; Filliou, Robert. Games at the Cedilla, or the Cedilla Takes Off. New York: Something Else Press, 1967. [Images]

Brøgger, Stig. 21. marts 1969 = March 21 1969. Copenhagen: Jysk Kunstgalerie, 1969. [Second edition]

Broodthaers, Marcel. Image: un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard. Antwerp: Wide White Space, 1969. [Images] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Doug Beube’s Veil: Secret Wars of the C.I.A., 1996, J. Meejin Yoon’s Absence, 2004, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes, 2010, Pauline Rafal’s Windows, 2014, and James Bridle’s Every Redaction, 2015]

Double-page spread Marcel Broodthaers Image: Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard, 1969

 

Brouwn, Stanley. 100 This Way Brouwn Problems for Computer IBM Model 95. Cologne: Walther König, 1970. [Essay] [Compare/contrast with Julie Johnstone’s 2-20% | 20-2cm, 2014]

Brouwn, Stanley. La Paz. Schiedam: Stedelijk Museum, 1970.[Image] [Images]

Brouwn, Stanley. Tatwan. Munich: Aktionsraum, 1970. [Images] [More images] [Compare/contrast with Craig Mod’s and Dan Rubin’s Koya Bound: Eight Days on the Kumano Kodo, 2016]

Brouwn, Stanley. Durch Komische Strahlen Gehen. Monchengladbach: Stadtisches Museum, 1970. [Image] [Image]

Brouwn, Stanley. Steps. Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1971. [Image] [Compare/contrast with James Bridle’s All Roads Lead to X, 2015; compare/contrast with Yu-Wen Yu’s Boston to Taipei ,2013]

Brouwn, Stanley. Afghanistan-Zambia. Aachen: Gegenverkehr e.V., Zentrum für aktuelle Kunst, 1971. [Image & essay] [Compare/contrast with James Bridle’s Where the F**k Was I?, 2011}

Brouwn, Stanley. One Step (IX-100X). Brussels: Galerie MTL, 1971. [Essay]

Brouwn, Stanley. 1 Step – 100,000 Steps. Amsterdam: Art & Project, 1972. [Image]

Buren, Daniel. Limites Critique. Paris: Yvon Lambert, 1970. [Images] [Site]

Burgin, Victor. Work and Commentary. London: Latimer Press, 1972.  [Image] [Video] [Essay] [Exhibition 2012]

Burgy, Donald. Art Ideas for the Year 4000. Andover, MA: Addison Gallery of American Art, 1970. [Video] [Compare/contrast with Gunnar Green’s and Bernhard Hopfengärtner’s 75000 Futures, 2014]

Burgy, Donald. Contexts Completion Ideas. Krefeld: Schuring, 1971. [Compare/contrast with Praxis, Museum of Nonvisible Art, 2011]

Burn, Ian. Xerox Book. n.p.: Self-published, 1968. [Compare/contrast with Paul Soulellis’s Apparition of a distance, however near it may be, 2013]

Xerox Book (1968)
Ian Burn

 

Burn, Ian; Ramsden, Mel. Six Negatives. New York: Society for Theoretical Art, 1969. [Images] [Video of Baldwin and Ramsden]

Burn, Ian; Ramsden, Mel. Notes on Genealogies. Vol. 1, No. 2. New York: Art-Language, 1970. [Essay by Thomas Dreher]

From the National Gallery of Victoria
Melbourne, Australia

 

Burn, Ian; Cutforth, Roger; Ramsden, Mel. Proceedings. Vol. 1, No. 3. New York: Art-Language, 1970. [Essay by Jo Melvin]

Burn, Ian; Ramsden, Mel. Notes on Analyses (1). Coventry: Art-Language Press, 1970. [Image]

Burn, Ian; Ramsden, Mel. Stating and Nominating. New York: Art-Language, 1970.

Burn, Ian; Ramsden, Mel. The Grammarian. New York: Art-Language, 1970.[Image]

Byars, James Lee. 100,000 Minutes, or the Big Sample of Byars, or 1/2 an Autobiography, or the First Paper of Philosophy. Antwerp: Galerie Anny de Decker, 1969. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Johanna Drucker’s All: the Books I Never Wrote or Wrote and Never Published, 1962 to 2017]

Cage, John. Silence. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan Press, 1961. [Video] [Compare/contrast with Paul Soulellis’s 273 Relics for John Cage (A Likeness Is an Aid to Memory), 2011]

Cage, John. A Year from Monday. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan Press, 1967.

Cage, John. Notations. New York: Something Else Press, 1969.

Cage, John. Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Things Worse) Continued, Part Three. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1967. [Video] [Compare/contrast with Robin Price’s As You Continue, 2011]

Carlini, Alessandro; Lang, Karl. Prozess Art, Situation Art. Berlin: Self-published, 1971.

Castillejo, Jose Luis. The Book of I’s. Constance: Castillejo, 1969. [Images] [Video] [Audio]

Castillejo, Jose Luis. The Book of Eighteen Letters. Madrid: Artes Graficas Luis Peres, 1972. [Images] [Audio]

Chiari, Giuseppe. Senza Titolo, 1971. Milan: Edizioni Toselli, 1972. [Images] [More images]

Collins, James. Revision and Prescription. New York: 98 Greene Street, 1971. [Image]

Corner, Philip. Popular Entertainments. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1967. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Andrew Savage’s Savage Presents Jean Michel Jarre, 2011]

Costa, Claudio. Estratti da Evoluzione-Involuzione. Genova: Edizioni Masnata, 1972. [Image]

Croce, Giancarlo. a  a’b’  b. Rome: Edizioni Gap, 1971.[Compare/contrast with Abra: The Living Book by Kate Durbin, Amaranth Borsuk and Ian Hatcher (2014)]

 

a  a’b’  b (1971)
Giancarlo Croce
19.3 x 18.5 cm, 48 pages + cover
a  a’b’  b (1971)
Giancarlo Croce
19.3 x 18.5 cm, 48 pages + cover

 

Cunningham, Merce. Changes: Notes on Choreography. New York: Something Else Press, 1968.

Cutforth, Roger. The Empire State Building. New York: Art Press, 1969. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Helen Malone’s Ten Books on Architecture, 2012, and Mandy Brannan’s 30 St Marys Axe, 2015]

Cutforth, Roger. The Visual Book. London: Lisson Gallery, 1970. [Image]

Cutforth, Roger. CN/ET/ESB: The Non-Art Project. New York: Self-published, 1971. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Helen Malone’s Ten Books on Architecture, 2012]

Darboven, Hanne. Xerox Book. Hamburg: Self-published, 1969.

Darboven, Hanne. 6 Manuskriptie 69. Dusseldorf: Michelpresse, 1969. [Image]

Darboven, Hanne. Das Jahr. n.p.: n.p., 1971. [Unable to locate]

Dibbets, Jan. Robin Redbreast’s Territory: Sculpture 1969, April — June. New York, Cologne: Siegelaub/Walther König, 1969. [Images] [More images] [Compare/contrast with Stephen Collis’ and Jordan Scott’s Decomp, 2013; with Marinus van Dijke’s Eye, 2013]

Dibbets, Jan. Perspective Correction. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Image] [Essay] [Compare/contrast with Wendy Wahl’s Laid Open, 2017]

Dibbets, Jan. 3.12.1971 t/m 16.1.1972. Eindhoven: Van Abbemuseum, 1971.

Fabbris, Giorgio; Spiller, Giorgio. Assenza. Venice: Self-published.

Ferguson, Gerald. The Standard Corpus of Present Day English Language Usage Arranged by Word Length and Alphabetized within Word Length. Halifax: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1970. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Masumi Shibata’s UED (Uncertain English Dictionary), 2008]

Filliou, Robert. Ample Food for Stupid Thought. New York: Something Else Press, 1965. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Black Page catalogue from the Laurence Sterne Trust, 2009]

Filliou, Robert. Hand Show. Villingen: Saba-Studio, 1967. [Image] [Additional images]

Filliou, Robert. A Filliou Sampler. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1967. [Image]

Filliou, Robert. 14 Chansons et 1 Charade. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1968. [Images] [Additional images]

Filliou, Robert (with Beuys, Brecht, Cage, Iannone, Kaprow, Marcelle, Patterson and Rot). Teaching and Learning as Performing Arts. Cologne: Walther König, 1970. [Images] [Video]

Fisher, Joel. Double Camouflage. Mansfield, OH: Mansfield Fine Arts Center, 1970. [Image] [Additional images]

Flynt, Henry. Down with Art. New York: Fluxpress, 1968. [Image] [Additional images] [Compare/contrast with Doug Beube’s Breaking the Codex, 2011]

Fulton, Hamish. The Sweet Grass Hills of Montana as seen from the Milk River of Alberta. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1971. [Image] [Additional images] [Compare/contrast with Helen Douglas’s The Pond at Deuchar, 2013]

Fulton, Hamish. Hollow Lane. London: Situation Publications, 1972. [Images] [Additional images]  [Video] [Compare/contrast with Craig Mod’s and Dan Rubin’s Koya Bound: Eight Days on the Kumano Kodo, 2016]

Gilbert & George. A Message from the Sculptors Gilbert & George. London: Art for All, 1970. [Image] [Additional images] [Video]

Gilbert & George. To Be with Art is All We Ask. London: Art for All, 1970. [Image] [Additional images] [Video]

Gilbert & George. The Pencil on Paper Descriptive Works. London: Art for All, 1970. [Additional images]

Gilbert & George. A Day in the Life of Gilbert & George. London: Art for All, 1971. [Image] [Additional images]

Gilbert & George. Oh, The Grand Old Duke of York. Lucerne: Kunstmuseum Luzern, 1972. [Image] [Additional images]

Gilbert & George. Side by Side. Cologne: Walther König, 1972. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Abra: The Living Book by Kate Durbin, Amaranth Borsuk and Ian Hatcher (2014)]

Graham, Dan. End Moments. New York: Self-published, 1969. [Image]

Graham, Dan. Two Parallel Essays. New York: Multiple, Inc., 1970. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Tom Abba’s These Pages Fall Like Ash, 2013.

Graham, Dan. Dan Graham. London/Cologne: Lisson Gallery/Walther König, 1972.

Graham, Rodney. Works 1963-1969. Cologne/New York: Walther König, 1970.

Greco, Sandro. Saper Sorridere. n.p.: Self-published, 1971. [Article]

Gregory, Kathe; Landis, Marilyn; Lewis, Russell; Crane, David; Kahn, Scott. Stolen. New York: Colorcraft Lithographers/Dwan Gallery, 1970. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Andrew Savage’s Stolen White Goods, 2006, and then Cristina Garrido’s intervention White Goods, 2011]

Hamilton, Richard. Polaroid Portraits, Volume One. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1972. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Anouk Kruithof’s The Daily Exhaustion, 2010]

Harvey, Michael. White Papers. New York: Self-published, 1971. [Images] [Additional images]

Hemsworth, Gerard. South West Coast of England. Amsterdam, London: X-One/Nigel Greenwood, 1970.

Hidalgo, Juan. Viaje a Argel. Madrid: Zaj, 1967. [Images] [More images]

Higgins, Dick. What are Legends: A Clarification. Calais, ME: Bern Porter, 1960. [Images]

Higgins, Dick. Jefferson’s Birthday / Postface. New York: Something Else Press, 1964. [Images]

Higgins, Dick. A Book about Love & War & Death, Canto One. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1965. [Images] [Video]

Higgins, Dick. Foew and ombwhnw : a grammar of the mind and a phenomenology of love and a science of the arts as seen by a stalker of the wild mushroom. New York: Something Else Press, 1969. [Images] [Video]

Huebler, Douglas. Durata Duration. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1970. [Images] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Andrew Eason’s Clock Watching, 2006]

Huebler, Douglas. Location Piece #2. New York: Multiple, Inc., 1970. [Images] [More images] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Barbara Tetenbaum’s Mining My Ántonia; Excerpts, Drawings, and a Map, 2012]

Hurrell, Harold. Fluidic DeviceCoventry: Art-Language, 1968. [Image]

Johnson, Ray. The Paper Snake. New York: Something Else Press, 1965. [Video of reprint edition]

Kaltenbach, Stephen. [Artforum Advertisements]. New York: Artforum, Issues dated November 1968 through December 1969. [Image] [Artslant interview]

Kaprow, Allan. Assemblage, Environments & Happenings. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1965. [Images] [Video]

Kaprow, Allan. Pose: Carrying Chairs through the City, Sitting Down Here and There, Photographed, Pix Left on Spot, Going On, March 22 1969-1970. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images]

Knowles, Alison. By Alison Knowles. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1965. [Images]

Kosuth, Joseph. Four Titled Abstracts [within S.M.S. Portfolio no. 3]. New York: Letter Edged in Black, Inc., 1968]. [Images] [More images]

Kosuth, Joseph. Function. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1970. [Images] [Additional images]

Kosuth, Joseph. Notebook on Water. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images] [Additional images]

Kosuth, Joseph. The Sixth Investigation 1969, Proposition 14. Cologne: Gerd de Vries, 1971. [Image] [Video]

Kosuth, Joseph. The Sixth Investigation 1969, Proposition 2. Buenos Aires/Cologne: CAYC/Paul Maenz, 1971. [Video]

Lamelas, David. Publication. London: Nigel Greenwood, 1970. [Images] [Video]

Latham, John. Least Event/One-Second Drawings/Blind Work/24-Second Painting. London: Lisson Gallery, 1971. [Image] [Video] [Cover of the work indicates a publication date of 1970]

Law, Bob. 16 Drawings. London: Lisson Gallery, 1971. [Images] [Audio]

LeWitt, Sol. 49 Three Part Variations Using Three Different Kinds of Cubes, 1967-1968. Zurich: Editions Bischofberger, 1969. [Images] [Video]

LeWitt, Sol. Four Basic Kinds of Straight Lines. London: Studio International, 1969. [Images][Video] [Film]

LeWitt, Sol. Schematic Drawings for Muybridge II, 1964. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images] [Video, Veronica Roberts] [Video, Charles Haxthausen]

LeWitt, Sol. Four Basic Colours and their Combinations. London: Lisson Gallery, 1971. [Images]

Lole, Kevin; Smith, Paul. Handbook on Models. Coventry: Self-published, 1972. [Unable to locate a work of this title in WorldCat, but one with the title The Relativism of Emotion Handbook to the Model and same date of publication is described in Paul Robertson‘s “A Collection of Rare Art+ Language Books and Internal Documents – Many Unknown in Literature”, Gorebridge, Midlothian: Unoriginal Sins/Heart Fine Art, n.d.

30 x 21cm, 50pp (printed recto only) plus printed card covers. Xerox inner pages as issued. The first and only edition of this theoretical work based on a physical model (electro-shock, photo beams and electronic buzzers) acting as metaphor for analogue, theoretical and representative models. Cover is very minority marked on the front and back cover has a faint diagonal crease else VG++. From the archive of David Rushton who believes only 10 or fewer of this book was published.

 

Long, Richard. Rain Dance. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images]

Long, Richard. From Along a Riverbank. Amsterdam: Art & Project, 1971. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Helen Douglas’s Venetian Brocade, 2010]

Long, Richard. Two Sheepdogs Cross In and Out of the Passing Shadows the Clouds Drift Over the Hill with a Storm. London: Lisson Gallery, 1971. [Images]

Maloney, Martin. Integuments. Brattleboro, VT: Press Work, 1969. [Image] [Video] [Additional outtakes]

Maloney, Martin. Fractionals. Brattleboro, VT: Press Work, 1970.

Maloney, Martin. Intervention (Five Days and Five Nights at the Galerie MTL). Brussels: Galerie MTL, 1970. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Sam Winston’s Darkness Visible, 2017]

Double-page spread from
Intervention (Five Days and Five Nights at the Galerie MTL), Martin Maloney
Brussels: Galerie MTL, 1970

 

Manzoni, Piero. The Life and Works. Glucksburg-Hamburg-Paris: Peterson Press, 1963. [Image] [Artspace essay] [Compare/contrast with Marc Straus’s White Heat exhibition, 2017]

Marchetti, Walter. Arpocrate Seduto sul Loto. Madrid: Zaj, 1968. [Images] [More images]

McLean, Bruce. King for a Day. London: Situation Publications, 1972. [Images]

Merz, Mario. Fibonacci 1202 Merz 1970. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1970. [Images] [Additional images] [Compare/contrast with Rutherford Witthus’ Anything is a Mirror, 2007, and Susan Happersett’s Box of Chaos, 2014]

Merz, Mario. Una somma reale e una somma di gente. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1972.

Morris, Robert. Continuous Project Altered Daily. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images] [Additional images]

Nauman, Bruce. Burning Small Fires.  San Francisco.: Self-published, 1968. [Images]

Display of Ed Ruscha’s Various Small Fires and Milk, 1964, at Pliure: La Part du Feu, 2 February – 12 April 2015, Paris. Photo by Robert Bolick. Reflected in the lower left hand corner is the display of Bruce Nauman’s Burning Small Fires; in the upper right corner, the film clip of Truffaut’s 1966 Fahrenheit 451; and in the upper left, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva’s La bibliotheque en feu, 1974.

 

Nauman, Bruce. Clea Rsky. n.p.: Self-published, 1969. [Images] [Additional images] [Compare/contrast with Anouk Kruithof’s Automagic, 2016]

Nauman, Bruce. Laair. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images]

N.E. Thing Company. A Portfolio of Piles. Vancouver: Self-published, 1968. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Alicia Martín’s Biografias, 2002 ongoing]

N.E. Thing Company. Trans VSI Connection NSCAD-NETCO. Halifax: Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, 1969. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Dennis Ashbaugh’s and William Gibson’s AGRIPPA: A Book of the Dead, 1992]

Oldenburg, Claes. Injun & Other Histories. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1966. [Image]

Oldenburg, Claes. Store Days. New York: Something Else Press, 1968. [Images]

Oldenburg, Claes. Notes in Hand. London: Petersburg Press, 1971. [Images]

Ono, Yōko. Grapefruit. Tokyo, New York: Wunternaum, 1964. [Images]

©Yoko Ono

Oppenheim, Dennis. Flower Arrangement for Bruce Nauman. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970.  [Images] [More images]

Paolini, Giulio. Cio che non ha limiti e che per sua stessa natura non ammette limiti di sorta. Turin: Self-published, 1968. [Image] [Another image] [More images]

Paolozzi, Eduardo. Metafisikal Translations. London: Kelpra Studios, 1962. [Images] [More images] [Compare/contrast with Francisco Prieto’s London 1827, 2001-13]

Paolozzi, Eduardo. ABBA ZABA. London: Hansjorg Mayer, 1970. [Image] [Images] [More images]

Penone, Giuseppe. Svolgere la Propria Pelle. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1971. [Image] [More images]

Phillips, Tom. A Humument. London: Tetrad Press, 1970. [Image] [More images] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes, 2010]

Phillips, Tom. Trailer. Dusseldorf: Hanjorg Mayer, 1971. [Image]

Pilkington, Philip; Rushton, David; Lole, Kevin; Smith, Paul. Concerning the Paradigm of Art. Zurich: Editions Bischofberger, 1971. [Last author’s name corrected from “Paul” to “Peter”] [From Paul Robertson, “A Collection of Rare Art+ Language Books and Internal Documents – Many Unknown in Literature”, Gorebridge, Midlothian: Unoriginal Sins/Heart Fine Art, n.d.

“30 x 21cm, 16pp (recto only). White card covers – with offset title. A text published by Bischofberger from a theoretical document written by Kevin Lole, Philip Pilkington, David Rushton and Peter Smith (formerly Analytical Art and by this time fully regarded as members of Art & Language) which applied Thomas Kuhn’s theory of paradigm shift to art (the original theory by Kuhn being a view that revolutions in scientific thought only occurred when sufficient contrary evidence to the prevailing orthodoxy had mounted up and the original hypothesis could no longer explain the physical evidence emerging from empirical studies). It is worth noting that at this time Bischofberger bought a great deal of Art + Language material from the group and published other documents by them including some of the group’s rarest publications – storing many of the more three-dimensional works for later resale. Bischofberger did not print the books himself – rather Art and Language arranged design and publication in Coventry (for free using the University’s resources) and David Rushton drove the books over in a camper van to Switzerland (breaking down just on the edge of the city due to running out of petrol and having little money left, Rushton coasted the last mile down hill on an empty tank).

The limitations of these series of books are usually placed at c. 200 but Rushton remembers taking far fewer than that with him and this Analytical Art book was in fact only produced in 50 copies taken to Zurich plus a few retained by the artists in the UK.

That said this is one of ONLY 5 copies which were numbered in roman numerals (this one being III/V) and signed by ALL of the four writers in pencil on the first title page.”]

Pilkington, Philip; Rushton, David. Sample from a Topological Notebook. Coventry: Self-published, 1972. [Video] [From Paul Robertson, “A Collection of Rare Art+ Language Books and Internal Documents – Many Unknown in Literature”, Gorebridge, Midlothian: Unoriginal Sins/Heart Fine Art, n.d.

“30 x 21cm, 28pp carbon copy pages and printed cover. This was one of ONLY four copies made and published by the group – two copies being signed by David Rushton and Peter [sic] Pilkington and created from original typed sheets and two copies remaining unsigned and created (as here) using the carbon copies from the originals. These latter two examples were regarded by the group as artist’s proofs of the book. This is the only copy of this book available for sale anywhere as from the original four prices: one is in Paul Maenz’s archive and another two copies are in the hands of private collectors (who purchased them from ourselves). This copy is signed by David Rushton and Philip Pilkington and has been stamped on the inside front cover with the official Art & Language Stamp and also designated in blue ink “Second Copy”. Fine estate and clearly rare.”]

Pistoletto, Michelangelo. Le Ultime Parole Famose. Turin: Tipolito Piano, 1967. [Images] [Additional images]

Pistoletto, Michelangelo. L’uomo nero: Il lato insopportabile. Salerno: Rumma Editore, 1969. [Included in this anthology; searchable here] [Image] [Cover image] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Abigail Thomas’s Micro-Pages, 2010]

Prini, Emilio. Magnete. [included within Celant’s Arte Povera published by Praeger , 1969.] [Unable to verify this; an image of the work appears in Emanuela Nobile Mino’s article “Emilio Prini: Non creo, se è possibile”, Flash Art 50, 298 Dicembre 2011 – Gennaio 2012.]

Magnet / Photo Series / Group 2000 / September 1968 / (4 Phase) / Continuous Photographic Photographs Continuously Photographs Up to 20,000 Shots / Run Time work / 10 years / annual series of 20,000 elements / technique / black and white photography / leafs / 3 M / K 203 3 / each 30 x 40 / constant time setting diaphragm / fixed tilt stand / 1969 / camera used maintains the original value and adds to the artistic market.

 

Ramsden, Mel. The Black Book. [Unable to find a work under this title in WorldCat]

Ramsden, Mel. Abstract Relations. New York: Art-Language, 1968. Edition of 5. [Unable to find a work under this title in WorldCat; the 5 images on the left in this photograph from the Philippe Méaille private collection at MACBA come closest.]

‘ART & LANGUAGE Incomplet’ exhibition views, 2014. Photo: EOS-AF, Estudi Orpinell & Sánchez — Artesania Fotogràfica
100% Abstract (1968) Art & Language

 

Roehr, Peter. Ziffern: 10 Typomontagen 1965. Cologne: Gerd de Vries, 1970.

Ty-100 (1965)
Peter Roehr
Source: Artnet 29 October 2017

 

Rot, Dieter. BOK 2a. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1960. [Images and essay] [Video, survey of Rot’s artist’s books]

Rot, Dieter. BOK 2b. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961. [Links in author’s name lead to image]

Rot, Dieter. BOK 3a. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. BOK 3b. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. BOK 3c. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. BOK 3d. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961. [Video link]

Rot, Dieter. BOK 4a. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. BOK 5. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. Dagblegt Bull No. 8. La Louvriere: A. Balthazar & P. Bury, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. Daily Mirror Book. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961. [Compare/contrast with Vienna Romanée’s Data Sewing Project,  2011 to present]

Rot, Dieter. Mundunculum. Cologne: Dumont Schauberg, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. Book AC 1958-1964. New Haven: Ives-Sillman, 1964.

Rot, Dieter. Quadrat-blatt. Hilversum: Steendrukkerij de Jong, 1965.

Rot, Dieter. The Copley Book. Chicago: Bill and Norma Copley Foundation, 1965.

Rot, Dieter. Kölner Divisionen. Cologne: Galerie der Spiegel, 1965.

Rot, Dieter. Quick. Reykjavik: Self-published, 1965.

Rot, Dieter. Poetrie No. 1. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1966.

Rot, Dieter. Scheisse: Neue Gedichte von Dieter Rot. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1966.

Rot, Dieter. Die Blaue Flut. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. A Look into the Blue Tide, Part Two. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. Siebdruckbilder (Screenprint Pictures 1-4). Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. Mundunculum (enlarged and corrected). Cologne: Dumont Schauberg, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. Poetrie 2 (301 kleine Wolken in Memoriam big J und big G : ein fingierter Bericht aus der inneren Fremde)Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. 80 Wolken, 1965-67. Stuttgart: E. Walther, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. Poeting 3/4 (Poeterei: Doppelnummer …). Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1968.

Rot, Dieter. Poemetrie. Cologne: Divers Press, 1968. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Robert Kalka’s Medium, 1995]

Poemetrie (no. 4 of the review Poeterei) (1968)
19 transparent plastic bags; letterpress, printed on both sides, filled with vanilla pudding and urine; plastic cover, back cover with signed drawing a.p. (ed. of 30 + 3 a.p.)
© Dieter Roth

 

Rot, Dieter; Williams, Emmett. Still More Shit — A Supplement. New York: Something Else Press, 1968. [Still more images]

Rot, Dieter. Die Kakausener Gemeine. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1968. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. Die Gesamte Scheisse/The Complete Shit. Berlin: Rainer Verlag, 1968. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. 246 Little Clouds. New York: Something Else Press, 1968. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. Little Tentative Recipe. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1969. [Images]

Little Tentative Recipe (1969)
Approx 800 rotaprints in colour.
8.8 x 8.8 x 8.8 cm. Adhesive binding wooden box. 100 unique pieces numbered.
© Dieter Roth

 

Rot, Dieter. Poetrie 5 to 1st. London: Hansjorg Mayer, 1969. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. Icelandic Leather. Reykjavik: Self-published, 1970. [Unable to locate by this title; may be referring to Volume 5, Bok 3 of the Collected Works]

Rot, Dieter. Snow. Stuttgart, Reykjavik, London: Wasserpresse Mayer, 1970. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. Postkartenblock (Postcard Pad). Cologne, London, Hellnar: Hansjorg Mayer, 1971. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Frances Kiernan’s All the Prints I Have Made, 2010]

Rot, Dieter. 2 Problems of Our Time: An Essay. Reykjavik: Verlag Reykjavik, 1971.

Rot, Dieter. Franz Eggenschwiler: The Young Man, the Man, His Time, His Work (until today 2.5.71), An Essay. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1971. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. Ideogramme. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1971.

Rot, Dieter. Smaller Works Part 1. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1971. [Volume 18 of Gesammelte Werke]

Rot, Dieter. Smaller Works Part 2. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1971. [Volume 19 of Gesammelte Werke]

Rot, Dieter. Who Was Mozart. Reykjavik: Verlag Reykjavik, 1971.

Rot, Dieter. Who’s the One Who Doesn’t Know Who Mozart Was? Reykjavik: Verlag Reykjavik, 1971.

Rot, Dieter. A Question? Reykjavik: Verlag Reykjavik, 1971.

Ruppersberg, Allen. 23 Pieces. Los Angeles: Sunday Quality, 1969. [Images]

Ruppersberg, Allen. 24 Pieces. Los Angeles: Sunday Quality, 1970. [Images]

Ruscha, Ed. Twentysix Gasoline Stations. Los Angeles: Self-published, 1963. [Images] [Interview about the book] [Compare/contrast with Sowon Kwon’s Whiteowned Gasoline Stations, 2007]

Ruscha, Ed. Various Small Fires. Los Angeles: Self-published, 1964. [Images]

Display of Ed Ruscha’s Various Small Fires and Milk, 1964, at Pliure: La Part du Feu, 2 February – 12 April 2015, Paris. Photo by Robert Bolick. Reflected in the lower left hand corner is the display of Bruce Nauman’s Burning Small Fires; in the upper right corner, the film clip of Truffaut’s 1966 Fahrenheit 451; and in the upper left, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva’s La bibliotheque en feu, 1974.

 

Ruscha, Ed. Every Building on the Sunset Strip. Los Angeles: Self-published, 1966. [Images] [Animation] [Compare/contrast with Every Item in the Artists’ Book Collection of the Banff Centre Paul D. Fleck Library & Archives, 2013 to the present, and James Bridle’s installation Every CCTV (CC), 2017, an extension of The Nor, 2014]

Ruscha, Ed. Thirtyfour Parking Lots. Los Angeles: Self-published, 1967. [Images] [Compare/contrast with James Bridle’s Drone Shadow Handbook, 2013]

Ruscha, Ed. Nine Swimming Pools (and a Broken Glass). Los Angeles: Self-Published, 1968.

Ruscha, Ed. Business Cards. Los Angeles: Heavy Industry Publications, 1968. [Images]

Ruscha, EdStains. Los Angeles: Heavy Industry Publications, 1969. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Ellie Ga’s Classification of a Spit Stain, 2009]

Ruscha, Ed. Crackers. Los Angeles: Heavy Industry Publications, 1969. [Images]

Ruscha, Ed. Real Estate Opportunities. Los Angeles: Self-published, 1970. [Images]

Ruscha, Ed. Babycakes with Weights. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images]

Ruscha, Ed. A Few Palm Trees. Los Angeles: Heavy Industry Publications, 1971. [Images]

Ruscha, Ed. Records. Los Angeles: Heavy Industry Publications, 1971. [Images]

Ruscha, Ed. Dutch Details. Deventer: Octopus Foundation, 1971. [Images] [Video, more images and essay]

Sonnier, Keith. Object Situation Object. Cologne, New York: Walther König, 1970. [Images] [Official website] [Video]

Spoerri, DanielTopographie Anecdotée du Hasard. Paris: Galerie Lawrence, 1962. [Images]

Spoerri, Daniel. An Anecdoted Topography of Chance. New York: Something Else Press, 1966. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Rutherford Witthus’ Anything is a Mirror, 2007]

Spoerri, Daniel. The Mythological Travels.... New York: Something Else Press, 1970. [Images]

Staeck, Klaus. Pornographie. Giessen: Anabas Verlag, 1971. [Images] [Official website]

Stezaker, John. Works, 1969 – 1971. London: Nigel Greenwood, 1972. [Compare/contrast with Doug Beube’s Speechless Series, 2015, Noriko Ambe’s Artist Books Project, 2009-13, and Scott Hazard’s Photo Constructs, 2011]

Stezaker, John. “0(A-F)” and Five Inherent Predicables. London: Nigel Greenwood, 1972.

Stezaker, John. “A” and Six Predicable Concepts. London: Nigel Greenwood, 1972.

Tacha, Athena. Heredity Study I, 1970-71. Oberlin, OH: Self-published, 1971. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Jan Fairbairn-Edwards’ Family Geology, 2015]

Tacha, Athena. Heredity Study II, 1970-71. Oberlin, OH: Self-published, 1971. [Images]

Tacha, AthenaSpatial Disorientation Staircases and Ramps 1971-72. Oberlin, OH: Self-published, 1972. [Image]

Titus-Carmel, Gerard. Joaquin’s Love Affair. Paris: Ericard Editeur, 1971. [Images]

Tuttle, Richard. 2 Books 1969. New York: Betty Parsons Gallery, 1969. [Images]

Van Elk, Ger. The Well-Shaven Cactus/Paul Klee um den Fisch, 1926/The Co-Founder of the Word OK/The Discovery of Sardines/The Symmetry of Diplomacy. Amsterdam: Art & Project, 1972. [Images] [More images ][Video]

Vautier, Ben. Le Livre Total: 13 propositions pour une nouvelle perception et conscience de l’objet livre. Nice: Self-published, 1963. [Image]

Vautier, Ben. Écrit pour la gloire à force de tourner en rond et d’être jaloux. Nice: Self-published, 1970. [Images]

Venet, Bernar. Astrophysics [within S.M.S. Portfolio no. 6]. New York: Letter Edged in Black Press, 1968. [Images]

Venet, Bernar. Exploited Subjects: Stimulated Raman Effect. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images]

Walther, Franz Erhard. Objekte, Benutzen. Cologne: Walther König, 1968. [Images]

Warhol, Andy. A. New York: Grove Press, 1968. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Warren Lehrer’s A Life in Books, 2013]

Warhol, Andy. Andy Warhol. Stockholm: Moderna Museet, 1968. [Images]

Weiner, Lawrence. Statements. New York: Siegelaub, 1968. [Images]

Weiner, Lawrence. Traces. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1970. [Actual title is Tracce Traces.] [Images] [Compare/contrast Michael Winkler’s Word Art/Art Words, 1985]]

Weiner, Lawrence. 10 Works. Paris: Yvon Lambert, 1971. [Images]

Weiner, Lawrence. 10 Obras. Buenos Aires: CAYC, 1971. [Images]

Weiner, Lawrence. Causality Affected and/or Effected. New York: Leo Castelli, 1971. [Images]

Weiner, Lawrence. Flowed. Halifax: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1971. [Images] [More images] [Compare/contrast with Demosthenes Agrafiotis’ The Chinese Notebook, 2015.

Weiner, Lawrence. Misschien door Verwijddering [Perhaps when removed]. Amsterdam: Art & Project, 1971. [Images]

Weiner, Lawrence. Quizas Cuando Removido [Perhaps when removed]. Buenos Aires: CAYC, 1971. [Edition of the work pirated and edited with the permission of Art & Project] [Image]

Weiner, Lawrence. Having Been Done At. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1972. [Images]

Weiner, Lawrence. Green as well as Blue as well as Red. London: Jack Wendler, 1972. [Full title is And/Or: Green as well as blue as well as red.] [Images]

Young, La Monte. An Anthology of Chance Operations. New York: La Monte Young and Jackson MacLow, 1963. [Contributors: Brecht, George; Cage, John; De Maria, Walter; Flynt, Henry; Higgins, Dick; Johnson, Ray; MacLow, Jackson; Morris, Robert; Ono, Yoko; Paik, Nam June; Rot, Dieter; Williams, Emmett; Young, La Monte; et al.] [Images] [Young soundtracks and video]

Young, La Monte; Zazeela, Marian. Selected Writing. Munich: Friedrich Publishers, 1969. [Images]

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Bookmarking Book Art – An Online Annotation of “The Cutting Edge of Reading: Artists’ Books”

Renée Riese Hubert and Judd D. Hubert’s The Cutting Edge of Reading: Artists’ Books (Granary Books, 1999) is a signal work of appreciation and analysis of book art.  Nearly twenty years on, it can be read and appreciated itself more vibrantly with a web browser open alongside it.

To facilitate that for others, here follows a linked version of the bibliography in The Cutting Edge of Reading — a “webliography” Because web links do break, multiple, alternative links per entry and permanent links from libraries, repositories and collections have been used wherever possible. These appear in the captions as well as the text entries. Also included are links to videos relating to the works or the artists. At the end of the webliography, links for finding copies of The Cutting Edge (now out of print) are provided.

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Alechinsky, Pierre; Matta, Sebastian; Mansour, Joyce. Le Grand jamais. Paris: Aimé-Maeght Éditions , 1981. [See also video 1, video 2.]

Arnal, André-Pierre. Conviction du contresens. Paris. Self-published, 1994. [See also video.]

Barrett, Virginia. Sometimes Feeling Like Eve. San Francisco: VB Press, 1992.

Blais, Jean-Charles; Artaud, Antonin. Tuguri. Paris: Ric Gadella, ed.; Frank Bordas, Printer, 1996. [See also video.]

Boltanski, Christian. La Maison manquante. Paris: La Hune, 1990. [See also video.]

Boltanski, Christian. Inventory of Objects Belonging to an Inhabitant of Oxford introduced by a preface and followed by some answers to my proposalWestfalicher Kunstverein, 1973. [The entry here corrects and extends the title given in the book’s entry. The exhibition itself, held in different locations, appeared with a different title and at different dates.]

Inventory of Objects Belonging to an Inhabitant of Oxford (1973)
Christian Boltanski

Boltanski, Christian. Sachlich. Wien/Munchen: Gina Kehayoff Verlag, 1995.

Boni, Paolo; Butor, Michel. La Chronique des asteroïdes. Paris: Jacqueline de Champvalins, 1982.

Paolo Boni and Michel Butor
La Chronique des asteroïdes (1982)

Braunstein, Terry. On Wrinkles. Self-published, 1978.

Broaddus, John Eric. France I. Altered book, n.d. [See also video 1video 2, video 3, video 4.]

Broaddus, John Eric. Satyricon. Altered book, 1973.

Broaddus, John Eric. Space Shot. One-of-a-kind book, n.d. Wellesley College Library, Special Collections.

Broaddus, John Eric. Sphinx and the Bird of Paradise. New York: Kaldewey, n.d. [See also video.]

Broaddus, John Eric. Turkestan Chronicle. One-of-a-kind book, n.d. Private collection.

Broel, Elisabeth. Aus dem Liederbuch des Mirza Schaffy. Unikatbuch no. 2. Altered book of Bodenstedt’s, 1992.

Broodthaers, Marcel. Reading Lorelei. Paris: Yvon Lambert, 1975.

Brunner, Helen. Primer of Ritual Elements (Book 1). Washington, D.C.: Offset Works, The Writing Center, Glen Echo, MD, 1992.

Chen, Julie. Octopus. Berkeley: Flying Fish Press, 1992. [See also video.]

Octopus (1992)
Julie Chen
Poem by Elizabeth McDevitt
Letterpress on paper
13.4 X 10.75 in.

Chopin, Henri. L’Écriture à L’ENDROIT. Limoges: Sixtus Editions, 1993.

Chopin, Henri. Graphèmes en vibrances. Paris: Les Petits Classiques du Grand Pirate, 1990.

Chopin, Henri; Zumthor, Paul. Les Riches heures de l’alphabet. Paris: Les Éditions de la Traversiere, 1995.

Closky, Claude. De A à Z. Paris: n.p., 1991.

Crombie, John; Rimbaud, Arthur. Une illumination. Paris: Kickshaws Press, 1990.

Dautricourt, Joelle. Sentences. Paris: Self-published, 1991.

Delaunay, Sonia; Cendrars, Blaise. La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France. Paris: Les Éditions des Hommes Nouveaux, 1913. [Title corrected.]

Dorny, Bertrand; Butor, Michel. Caractères. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1993.

Dorny, Bertrand; Butor, Michel.  Lug à Lucinges. Paris: Self-published, 1993. [Butor added; title corrected.]

Dorny, Bertrand. Supermarché. Paris: Self-published, 1992.  [Butor added.]

Dorny, Bertrand; Deguy, Michel. Composition 7. Paris: Self-published, 1992.

Dorny, Bertrand; Deguy, Michel. Écrire. Self-published, 1992.

Dorny, Bertrand; Deguy, Michel. Éléments pour un Narcisse. Paris: Self-published, 1993.

Dorny, Bertrand; Deguy, Michel. Le Métronome. Paris: Self-published, 1984.

Dorny, Bertrand; Guillevic, Eugène. Si. Nice: Jacques Matarasso, 1986. [First name of Guillevic corrected.]

Dorny, Bertrand; Noel, Bernard. Matière de la nuit. Paris: Self-published, 1990.

Dorny, Bertrand; Smith, William Jay. The Pyramid of the Louvre. Self-published, 1990.

Drucker, Johanna. Narratology. New York: Druckwerk, 1994.

Ely, Timothy; McKenna, Terence. Synesthesia. New York: Granary Books, 1992. [See also video.]

Ely, Timothy. Approach to the Site. New York: Waterstreet Press , 1986. [See also Getty interview; see also video.]

Ely, Timothy. Octagon 3. One-of-a-kind book, 1987. Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Ely, Timothy. Saturnia. One-of-a-kind book, 1995. Private collection.

Ely, Timothy; Kelm, Daniel E. Turning to Face. One-of-a-kind book, 1989. Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Epping, Ed. Abstract Refuse: A Heteronymic Primer. New York: Granary Books, 1995.

Ernst, Max; Eluard, Paul. Les Malheurs des immortels. Paris: Librairie Six, 1922.

Ernst, Max. Une Semaine de bonté. Paris: Pauvert, 1963. [See also video.]

Fahrner, Barbara; Cage, John. Nods. New York: Granary Books, 1991.

Fahrner, Barbara; Schwitters, Kurt. A Flower Like a Raven. Translations by Jerome Rothenberg. New York: Granary Books, 1996.

Finlay, Ian Hamilton. Ocean Stripe Series 3, Wild Hawthorn Press, 1965.

Gerz, Jochen. 2146 Steine: Mahnmal gegen Rassismus. Saarbrucken and Stuttgart: Haje Verlag, 1993. [See also video.]

Gerz, Jochen. Die Beschreibung des Papieres. Darmstadt: Luchterhand, 1973.

Gerz, Jochen. Les Livres de Gandelu.  Liège: Yellow Now, 1976.

Golden, Alisa. They Ran Out. Berkeley: Nevermind the Press, 1991.

Groborne, Robert. Une lecture du Livre des ressemblances [d’] Edmond Jabès. [Xonrupt-Longemer, France]: Æncrages, 1981.

Hamady, Walter. Gabberjab 6. Mount Horeb, WI: The Perishable Press Limited, 1988.

Gabberjab No. 6 (1988)
Walter Hamady

Hamady Walter. Gabberjab 7. Mount Horeb, WI: The Perishable Press Limited, 1997.

King, Ron; Fisher, Roy. Anansi Company. London: Circle Press, 1992. [See also video.]

King, Ron; Fisher, Roy. Bluebeard’s Castle. Guilford, England: Circle Press, 1972. [See also video.]

King, Susan E. Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride. Los Angeles: Paradise Press, 1978.

King, Susan E. HomeStead. Los Angeles: The Power of Place, 1990.

King, Susan E. I Spent Summer in Paris. Rochester NY: Paradise Press at Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1984.

King, Susan E.  Salem Witch Trial Memorial. Santa Monica, CA: Paradise Press, 1994.

King, Susan E. Treading the Maze. Rochester, NY: Montage 93: International Festival of the Image, 1993.

King, Susan E. Women and Cars. Rosendale, NY: Paradise Press, 1983. [See also video.]

Koch, Peter; McEvilley, Thomas. Diogenes Defictions. Berkeley: Peter Koch, Printers, 1994.

Kosuth, Joseph. Two Oxford Reading Rooms. London: Book Works, 1994.

Labisse, Félix. Histoire naturelle. Paris: Chavane, 1948.

Histoire naturelle (1948)
Félix Labisse
Histoire naturelle (1948)
Félix Labisse

Lacalmontie, Jean-François. Le Chant de sirènes. Limoges: Sixtus Editions, 1995. [See also video.]

Laxson, Ruth. [H0 + G0]² = It. Atlanta: Nexus Press, 1982. [See also video.]

[H0 + G0]² = It  (1982)
Ruth Laxson
Laxson, Ruth. Measure/Cut/Stitch. Atlanta: Nexus Press, 1987. [See also video.]

Laxson, Ruth. Wheeling. Atlanta: Nexus Press, 1992.

Le Gac, Jean. La Boîte de couleurs. Amiens: Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain de Picardie, 1995. [See also video at 4’55”.]

Lehrer, Warren; Bernstein, Dennis. French Fries. Rochester/Purchase: Visual Studies Press, 1984.

French Fries (1984)
Warren Lehrer and Dennis Bernstein

Ligorano, Reese. The Corona Palimpsest. New York: Granary Books, 1996.

Lohr, Helmut. Visual Poetry. Berlin: Galerie Horst Dietrich, 1987.

Visual Poetry (1987)
Helmut Lohr

Lovejoy, Margot. The Book of Plagues. Purchase, NY: SUNY Visual Arts Division, 1994.

Lown, Rebecca. Procrustes’ Bed. Purchase, NY: Center for Editions, 1990.

Lyons, Joan. The Gynecologist. Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1989.

Malgorn, Jacques; Mabille, Pierre. En N’Ombres. Limoges: Sixtus Editions, 1993.

Mallarmé, Stéphane. Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasardCosmopolis, mai, 417-28, 1897.

Manet, Edouard; Mallarmé, Stéphane. L’Après-midi d’un faune. Paris: Derenne, 1876.

Martinez, Roberto. Moi Aussi j’aurais peur si je recontrais un ange. 1. La Bataille de Midway. Paris: n.p., 1991.

Martinez, Roberto. Moi Aussi j’aurais peur si je recontrais un ange. 2. L’Anatomie d’un ange. Paris: n.p., 1991.

Masson, André; Mallarmé, Stéphane. Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard. Paris: Amateurs du Livre et de l’Estampe Modernes, 1961.

Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard (1897; 1961)
Stéphane Mallarmé; André Masson

 

Masson, André; Rimbaud, Arthur. Une saison en enfer. Paris: Société de femmes bibliophiles Le Cent Une, 1961.

Matta, Sebastian; Jarry, Alfred. Ubu roi. Paris: Atelier Dupont Visat, 1982.

Matta, Sebastian. Garganta-tua. Florence: Edizioni della Bejuga, 1981.

McCarney, Scott. Diderot/Doubleday/Deconstruction. Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1994. [See also video.]

McCarney, Scott. Memory Loss. Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1988. [See also video.]

Memory Loss (1988)
Scott McCarney
2 1/2 x 22 in., 40 pp.
offset edition of 500

 

Meador, Clifton. Anecdote of the Jar. Purchase, NY: SUNY Visual Arts Division, 1989. [See also video.]

Meador, Clifton. The Book of Doom. Barrytown, NY: Zimmerman Multiples, 1984. [See also video.]

Messager, Annette. D’Approche. Paris: Jean-Dominique Carré Archives Librairie, 1995. [See also video at 5’56”.]

Messager, Annette. Mes ouvrages. Arles: Actes Sud, 1989.

Nannucci, Maurizio. Art as Social Environment. Amsterdam: Lugo, 1978.

Nannucci, Maurizio. Provisoire et définitif. Écarts, 1975.

Newell, Peter. Slant Book. New York: Harper Bros., 1910.

Osborn, Kevin. Real Lush. Arlington, VA: Bookworks, 1991.

Osborn, Kevin. Tropos. Arlington, VA: Osbornbook, 1988.

Tropos (1988)
Kevin Osborn

 

Osborn, Kevin. Wide Open. Arlington, VA: Bookworks, 1984.

Penck, A.R. Analysis. Berlin: Edition Klaus Staeck, 1990.

Phillips, Tom. A Humument. London: Thames & Hudson, 1980.

Polkinhorn, Harry. Summary Dissolution. Port Charlotte, FL: Runaway Spoon Press, 1988.

Reese, Harry. Arplines. Isla Vista, CA: Turkey Press, 1988.

Roth, Dieter. Daily Mirror. Köln: Hansörg Mayer, 1961. [See also video.]

Roth, Dieter. Bok 3C. Stuttgart: Hansörg Mayer, n.d. [See also video.]

Rullier, Jean-Jacques. 10 exemples. Limoges: Sixtus Editions, 1994.

Ruscha, Edward. Twentysix Gasoline Stations. Los Angeles: National Excelsior Press, 1963. [Publisher added; see also video.]

Sharoff, Shirley; Lu Xun. La Grande Muraille/The Great Wall. Paris: Self-published, 1991.

La grande muraille/The Great Wall (1991)
Shirley Sharoff
La grande muraille/The Great Wall (1991)
Shirley Sharoff

Sicilia, Jose Maria; Lux, Thomas. You Are Alone. Paris: Michael Woolworth, 1992.

Sligh, Clarissa. Reading Dick and Jane with Me. Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1989. [See also video.]

Sligh, Clarissa. What’s Happening with Momma? Rosendale, NY: Women’s Studio Workshop, 1988.

Smith, Keith. Construct. Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1985. [See also video.]

Spector, Buzz. Broodthaers. 1988. Altered book. [See also video links embedded in the artist’s name below.]

Spector, Buzz. Kafka. 1988. Altered book.

Spector, Buzz. Malevich. 1988. Altered book.

Spector, Buzz. A Passage. NY: Granary Books, 1994.

Spector, Buzz. The Picture of Dorian Gray. 1987. Altered book.

Spector, Buzz. Silence. 1989. Altered book.

Staritsky, Anna; Albert-Birot, Pierre. La Belle histoire. Veilhes, Tarn: Gaston Puel, 1966.

Staritsky, Anna; Butor, Michel. Allumettes pour un bûcher dans la cour de la vieille Sorbonne. Paris: Self-published, 1975.

Staritsky, Anna; Guillevic, Eugène. De la prairie. Paris: Jean Petithory, 1970.

De la prairie (1970)
Eugene Guillevic (text)
Anna Staritsky (art)

Staritsky, Anna; Iliazd. Un de la brigade. Paris:Atelier Lacourière-Frelaut, 1982. [Publisher identified.]

Staritsky, Anna; Lemaire, Jacques. Le Zotte et la moche. Moulin du Verger de Puymoyen, 1969.

Stokes, Telfer; Douglas, Helen. MIM. Deuchar Mill, Yarrow, Scotland: Weproductions, 1986. [See also video.]

Stokes, Telfer; Douglas, HelenReal Fiction: An Inquiry into the Bookeresque. Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1987.

Stokes, Telfer; Douglas, Helen. Spin Off. Deuchar Mill, Yarrow, Scotland: Weproductions, 1985.

Van Horn, Erica. Scraps of an Aborted Collaboration. Docking, Norfolk: Coracle Press, 1994.

Van Horn, Erica. Seven Lady Saintes. New York: Women’s Studio Workshop, 1985. [Publisher identified.]

Van Horn, Erica. Ville aux dames.Vitry-sur-Seine: n.p., 1983. One-of-a-kind. [Title corrected.]

Walker, Anne; Coppel, Georges. Les Formes de l’univers (ou l’univers des formes). Paris: L’Oeil du Griffon, 1995. [Name of publisher corrected.]

Wegewitz, Olaf. Mikrokosmos. Edition Staeck, 1992. [Publisher identified; date reflects publisher’s information; see also video.]

Yvert, Fabienne. Transformation. Marseille: Éditions des Petits Livres. 1995.

Zelevansky, Paul. The Case for the Burial of Ancestors. New York: Zartscarp, Inc. and Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1981.

The Case for the Burial of Ancestors (1981)
Paul Zelevansky

Zimmermann, Philip. High Tension. Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1993. [See also Craft in America video and video of High Tension.]

Zimmermann, Philip. Elektromagnetism. Barrytown, NY: Space Heater Multiples, 1995.

Elektromagnetism (1995)
Philip Zimmerman

Zubeil, Francine. Panique générale. Marseille:  Éditions de l’Observatoire, 1993.

Zweig, Janet. This Book is Extremely Receptive. Cambridge, MA: Pyramid Atlantic, 1989.

βΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβς

The Cutting Edge of Reading: Artists’ Books by Renée Riese Hubert and Judd D. Hubert available:

Amazon

AbeBooks

OCLC WorldCat

 

 

 

Bookmarking Book Art – ABCs

Remember the entry about the alphabet-book film series Mysteries of Vernacular? 

W is for "window". © Myriapod Productions, 2013
W is for “window”.
© Myriapod Productions, 2013

With his “Medieval Letter People“, the marvelously named Eric Kwakkel opens my eyes yet again to the materiality of the letter in books and book art – and prompts this renewed but brief hunt for abecedaries.

The human body is one of the most common objects encountered in art, whether in paintings, sculptures or other objects. Things have not changed much since medieval times, when artists loved to fill their work with human figures – commonly saints or individuals affiliated with biblical stories. Among the great diversity of depictions, there is one type that stands out in that the body is used (or rather, abused) to express something other than itself. These particularly fascinating and often amusing depictions are found on the medieval page. We see people bent and stretched into unnatural shapes in order to change them into something for which the book was created: letters (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 – British Library, Add. MS 8887 (15th century) – Source
Fig. 1 – British Library, Add. MS 8887 (15th century) – Source

Kwakkel teaches at the University of Leiden, about ten miles from where I am writing. His online essays wear their learning lightly on the screen and bring the past to life, repeatedly connecting it with our not-so-different present thinking. Seeing the date of the letter G above made me wonder, how did we think about the ABCs during the overlap between illuminated scribal books and the printed book? Kwakkel’s entry on the model or pattern books from which scribes and illuminators would learn to form and decorate those introductory letters adds to my curiosity. Even as late as 1530, eighty years after the invention of movable type, these model books were still being created in parchment. For how long do technologies overlap and co-exist?

In 1529, Geoffroy Tory — “born typographic” —  published Champ fleury, more treatise than abecedary, to explain the design of type according to the Golden Mean. As his subtitle declares, Tory was not bending the human form to the letter but rather explaining The Art and Science of the Proportion of the Attic or Ancient Roman Letters, According to the Human Body and Face – finding the ideal shape of the letters in the human form and face.

Geoffroy Tory, Champ fleury; translated into English and annotated by George B. Ives. New York, Grolier, 1927.
Geoffroy Tory, Champ fleury; translated into English and annotated by George B. Ives. New York, Grolier, 1927.

The 1927 translation into English, magnificently designed by Bruce Rogers, one of the preeminent typographers of the twentieth century, can be found online in the University of Delaware’s ABC: An Alphabet Exhibition and even on CD from Octavo Editions, which also includes the original French and so brings the overlap from the born typographic to the born digital – at least in the medium if not the author.

As more recent evidence supporting Kwakkel’s assertion “things have not changed much since medieval times”, I offer up the New York Museum of Modern Arts’ 2012 exhibition “Artists’ Alphabets”, which celebrated book art abecedaries.

John Rieben. A Is the First Letter of the Alphabet. Printer: Screen Print Diversified. 1965-66. Lithograph, 50 x 35" (127 x 88.9 cm). Gift of the designer (not on view) Literacy begins with the alphabet. From the early twentieth century to today, modern artists have used the familiar ABC book, or abecedary, as a point of departure for diverse themes. In this exhibition, each letter of the alphabet is represented by a publication, revealing the abecedary as a learning device enjoyed well beyond childhood. From the Museum of Modern Art exhibition organized by Jennifer Tobias, Reader Services Librarian, MoMA Library. August - October 2012.
John Rieben. A Is the First Letter of the Alphabet. Printer: Screen Print Diversified. 1965-66. Lithograph, 50 x 35″ (127 x 88.9 cm). Gift of the designer (not on view). From the Museum of Modern Art exhibition organized by Jennifer Tobias, Reader Services Librarian, MoMA Library. August – October 2012.

One entry in particular – Stop the Violence: Character Studies by photographer Francois Robert  – contributes to this medieval heritage of the flesh made into word: his letters are formed of human bones.

Tien-Min Liao, a New York-based designer whose work surely deserved a place MoMA’s 2012 exhibition, offers a far gentler and more gestural ABC for my last specimen. Early in 2012 before the MoMA exhibition, she created her alphabet in what she calls a “typographic experiment” to explore the relationships between upper-case letters and lower-case letters and record how they transform into one another.

Inking shapes onto her fingers, hands and arms, she manipulated or “gestured” them into the corresponding shape of an upper-case letter. Then, without removing or redrawing the inked-on shapes, she adjusted her gestures or the perspective on them to change the upper-case letter to a lower-case of the same letter.  As shown in her illustrations below, she even created an italic version of her “Handmade Type”.

Handmade Type: a typography experiment Tian-Min Liao, March 2012
Handmade Type: a typography experiment,Tien-Min Liao, March 2012

The videos she created to show the transformation of each letter are exceptional, delightful. The banner headline on her site runs forward and backward, turning the HANDMADE into handmade and vice versa.

Unlike my other specimens, though, Tien-Min Liao’s abecedary is available only online. Without my imagining it as a book as well – bound in linen, with a metal handclasp closure or in a solander box including ink, brush and a CD with instructions on handmaking my own alphabet and with a Digital Object Identifier to keep up with her work –  the technological overlap has now run backwards or full circle: the flesh become letter, the fleshly letter become digital.

Look here and here for more examples of ABCedarian books. And here for the online exhibition at the University of Delaware.

Bookmarking Book Art – Mending Pages

M4qPagG - ImgurR6fTbxTmpG4XVO - ImgurWilliam Dean Minter, Senior Book Conservator in the Digitization and Preservation Department at Pennsylvania State University drew my attention to these images. At first, they reminded me of passages in Annie Tremmel Wilcox’s A Degree of Mastery, in which she describes mending rare books with kozo paper under the hawkeye of the late Bill Anthony. Then, dreamcatchers sprang to mind. DreamcatcherWhat were the images, sounds and thoughts caught in words now missing on these pages, words slipped from the dreamcatching pages? But book artist Esther Kibby, who teaches photography, graphic design and web design at the Art Institute of Dallas in Texas, came up with the most telling association: kintsugiKintsugi

Kintsugi (or kintsukuroi) is a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy behind the technique is to recognize the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it. The mastery of the book restorer is to invisibly repair the book. Our “dreamcatcher” restorer seems to have in mind the kintsugi philosophy and lets the repair draw attention to itself and creates “a new piece”.

In the hands of a book artist, such a technique could generate ironic expressions of biblioclasm: the restored book that is no longer a book? Or echoes of Walter Benjamin’s presumption of and preoccupation with the modern world’s fragmentary nature? Or the pain and sorrow of Al-Mutanabbi Street?

Bettina Pauly, The Sun that Rises, 2013
Bettina Pauly, The Sun that Rises, 2013.  Made for An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street.

 

Or a tongue-in-cheek answer to those horrified by the destruction of “the book”?

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. —Barbara Bloom

 

Bookmarking Book Art – “Previously on …”

W is for %22window%22
W is for “window”.
© Myriapod Productions, 2013

“Previously on …”  Say the phrase and most listeners’ brains switch to a favorite channel and television series. It is part of our vernacular. It instantly evokes a compound state of remembering and anticipating.

Myriapod Productions embodies that state of mind in its animated alphabet-book film series Mysteries of Vernacular. Each book for each letter is an old yellowed or gray hardback whose pages turn by themselves to reveal silhouette figures that glide across the pages, accordioned illustrations from other works or carvings reminiscent of the book sculptures of Doug Beube, Brian Dettmer and Odires Mlászho – with each vernacular word and definition emerging from an old library card pocket or from beneath a flap or cutout on the page.  

The treatment of the letter W is particularly apropos to this compound artwork.  W is for “window”, which we are informed by Graham James (the narrator) is an example of the Old Norse technique of word invention called kenning. Kenning is the joining of two things (or rather two words for two different things) to designate a third thing: such as whale + road = whale-road = sea. Window is originally an Old Norse kenning word: windauga = vind (wind) + auga (eye). The book in the animation is Mikhail Sholokhov‘s The Don Flows Home to the Sea, a Nobel-prize-winning window on the life of the Don Cossacks during the Russian Revolution.

The book for the letter A (for “assassin”) is Karl Menninger‘s Love against Hate, whose theme of love’s shaping our instinctual aggressiveness suggests an ironic bent and wry, punning sense of humor in Jessica Oreck and her Myriapod team. The letter C for “clue” traces back to the ball of yarn (clew) that Ariadne gave Theseus to help him find his way out of the maze after killing the Minotaur, which is explained with an animation of George Bernard Shaw‘s The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism. C is also for “clever”.

D for “dynamite” plays out on the pages of A Number of Things, a satiric novel of Irish and British manners by Honor (Lilbush Wingfield) Tracy. Tracy became the fuse to a stick of dynamite planted by Bevis Hillier in his rival A.N. Wilson‘s biography of Sir John Betjeman. Hillier concocted a letter from Betjeman purporting to reveal an affair between Tracy and the Oxford don. Not only was the letter a hoax, but Hillier embedded an acrostic that spelled out “A N Wilson is a shit”.

Of course, X for “x-ray” is illuminated with George IlesLittle Masterpieces of Science, and naturally, Z for “zero” is accounted for with Teach Yourself Calculus. But this soupçon of humor runs out with H (what has “hearse” to do with Bernard Jaffe‘s story of chemistry?) and G (what has “gorgeous” to do with James Russell Lowell?) and F (what has “fizzle” to do with Mark Twain‘s Life on the Mississippialthough one can imagine his delight with the word’s eytmological kinship with flatulence?).

F is for %22fizzle%22
F is for “fizzle”.
© Myriapod Productions, 2013

Each letter, definition, chapter, volume, episode (?) of Mysteries of Vernacular elicits affection for, if not outright love of, words and language. Perhaps that is not just down to Oreck’s and team’s skill, humor and cleverness. After all, for most of us, the alphabet-book is our childhood entrée not only to letters and words but any aspect of the internal and external world we fancy. Just for ages 3-5, our bookstores and libraries have the ABCs of Asthma, Bible Verse, Colors, Dinosaurs, Engineering, Feelings, Golf, Halloween, Ice Cream, Jobs, Kangaroos, Love, Math Riddles, Nature, Origami, Pigs, Questions, Rocks, Sounds, Touch, Under the Sea, Vanishing (endangered species), Wildlife, Yoga and Zoos. And for the more app-minded, there is also Moonbot Studio’s contribution to the ABCs: The Numberlys.

Screenshot from The Numberlys, William Joyce, Moonbot Studios, 2012
Screenshot from The Numberlys
William Joyce, Moonbot Studios, 2012

Myriapod starts with the advantage of this long, long “previously on …” in our hearts and minds. In exploiting its advantage, Mysteries of Vernacular takes us on a gentle rootle round the attic and cellar of our language and social history.  The tradition of the abecedary and the disciplines of history and etymology offer a natural canvas on which Myriapod’s animation projects numerous techniques of book art. The intaglio carving reminds us not only of Beube, Dettmer and Mlászho but more so of Nerhol (the collaboration persona of Ryuta Iida and Yoshihisa Tanaka) and the work entitled Oratorical Type.

Oratorical Type by Nerhol (Ryuta Iida and Yoshihisa Tanaka)
Oratorical Type by Nerhol (Ryuta Iida and Yoshihisa Tanaka)
Oratorical Type by Nerhol (Ryuta Iida and Yoshihisa Tanaka)
Oratorical Type by Nerhol (Ryuta Iida and Yoshihisa Tanaka)

The Mysteries’ wooden desktop framing recalls Abelardo Morell‘s A Book of Books.

Water Alphabet, 1998 Abelardo Morell
Water Alphabet, 1998
Abelardo Morell

The animated book folds are enchanting (although they might have but do not aspire to the level of origami achieved by artists and craftworkers like Heather Eddy).

The Alphabet Tutorial Heather Eddy, 2011
The Alphabet Tutorial
Heather Eddy, 2013
little letters Heather Eddy, 2013
little letters
Heather Eddy, 2013

More extensively used and in keeping with the more two-dimensional feel of Mysteries is the technique of papercutting (as distinct from carving) on display with the letter W. The technique dates to the Tang Dynasty (618 -906 AD) but, in this context, harks back more recently to Victorian silhouette artistry.

Victorian Silhouette Abecedary
Victorian Silhouette Abecedary

The series of 26 episodes so rich in content and technique is addictive. You will find yourself, as with any well-done abecedary, wishing for more letters in the alphabet. Although there is a vast vocabulary of other vernacular awaiting treatment, at a production cost of $80,000 per episode, it is likely those words will wait a long time. So we are left with having to remember our anticipation. Not all anticipation is more often enjoyed in itself rather than its resolution. You have 26 windows of opportunity to learn in Mysteries of Vernacular.

Do not wait.

Look here, here and here for more abcedaries. And here for the online exhibition at the University of Delaware.

 

Bookmark — The ABC of Bookmarking

romandelarose
Detail from Harley MS 4425, Roman de la Rose
767479
Historia Rerum Ubique Gestarum

The British Library‘s “Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts” blog is a reliable source of visual delight and provocation to think about the interplay of the print and digital worlds.  It also prompts the application of Ezra Pound’s critical technique of juxtaposing works, demonstrated so well in his The ABC of Reading.

Earlier this year, Ann Tomalak, Conservator, Greek Manuscripts Digitisation Project, posted “Digitising Manuscripts:  The Condition Assessment,” a wonderful essay that warrants reading alongside A Degree of Mastery by Annie Tremmel Wilcox.

I have read A Degree of Mastery from cover to cover twice.  Once in New York between 2002 and 2005 when I was teaching “Professional Book and Information Publishing” at NYU and wanted readings to help provide students with a sense of the history, art and craft of the book. The second time here and now in Windsor looking for the “right something” to include in “Books On Books.”

On both occasions ebooks and digital publishing pervaded my thoughts, but only on the second time around did these questions and observations I want to raise now shape themselves as they have.

Annie Tremmel Wilcox weaves a memoir of her apprenticeship under the renowned bookbinder and conservator William Anthony.  She weaves it with her diary entries, excerpts from an exhibit brochure “Saving Our Books and Words: The Conservation and Preservation of Books,” newspaper articles, correspondence, passages from “Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit and Use” by Toshio Odate, step by step descriptions of mending torn pages and crumbling leather spines and plainspoken observation of fellow workers, conference attendees, librarians, government officials posing with restored documents, children making “books” from striped computer paper with wallpaper sewn on for covers and, of course, Bill Anthony, the “Johnny Appleseed of bookbinding.”

“Weaves” is the precise word for the structure of her book’s narrative, and it would be the right word for her ebook, if there were one.  As I re-read it, this game of word substitution yielded questions that make this memoir a useful means to bookmark the evolution of the book.

Writing about some of the tools she learns to use — lifting knives, translucent bone folders, the spokeshave and others — she says of Anthony’s, “His tools were smarter than mine. They knew the correct way to cut paper or pare leather. By using them I could feel in my hands how the tools were supposed to work.” (48)  For Wilcox and her reader, Bill Anthony is the master “shokunin,” craftsman or artisan.  And when she quotes from Odate “For the ‘shokunin,’ utility and appearance must be enhanced by the tool’s ‘presence,’ that is its refinement and dignity….,” this reader asks,

What are the tools of the ebook maker? From whence comes their refinement and dignity — their “presence” — with which the “shokunin” imbues his creation as a result of his commitment to his craft?  In what tools of the ebookmaker does “the spirit of the tool that records the ‘shokunin’s’ ability through the years to face the uncertainties of life, to overcome them, and to master the art of living” reside?

Too Zen? Perhaps.

An English grad student, Wilcox relished handling the University of Iowa‘s Sir Walter Scott Collection, its Leigh Hunt Collection and The Works of Rudyard Kipling.  Confronted with earlier slapdash and botched work on certain volumes of the Kipling, she writes, “Certainly these volumes of Kipling are found on the shelves of numerous libraries across the country, but the integrity of ‘these’ volumes as a complete set has been lost.” (179)  What constitutes the “integrity” of an ebook or its constituents? Are ebooks so “immaterial” that such a question is nonsensical?

The author’s apprenticeship included collaboration on the exhibit “Saving Our Books and Words.”  In addition to coauthoring the exhibit’s brochure, Wilcox contributed to completing Anthony’s special project of developing for the exhibit a unique collection of models demonstrating “the evolution of the codex – the form of the book as we know it.”(181)  In the brochure she touches on the immateriality and materiality of the Center’s work: “Simply defined, preservation is the attempt to save the intellectual content of books while conservation is the attempt to save both the intellectual content and its vehicle — the covers, paper, endbands, etc. The former is concerned with saving what the human record contains without regard to the forms it winds up in. The latter focuses on the artifact itself, attempts to save this book, this sheet.” (192)

What is the “form” of the ebook as we know it? Is the ebook as much “vehicle” as “content”?  What are its equivalencies to the page or to what “binds” the “text block”?  What does it mean to “conserve” an ebook?  Of a digital copy, what are the materials; what is the artifact to be conserved?

Wilcox ends her memoir with the completion of her “masterpiece,” the restoration of the incunabulum that Bill Anthony assigned her before his death and which she completed after it with the help of “The Restoration of Leather Bindings” by Bernard Middleton, author of the standard text “A History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique.”  The work assigned was Pope Pius II’s “Historia Rerum Ubique Gestarum,” printed by Johannes De Colonia and Johannes Manthen in Venice in 1477, which when restored was “not a deluxe edition, but … had great integrity.”  In the year 2547, of what will the preservation and conservation of today’s e-incunabula consist?  Will some apprentice conservator understand the “form” of these ebooks “in the cradle” and, master of smart tools, restore them to their integrity?

With Ann Tomalak’s essay, perhaps we can see that future through her present lense on the past.  Give it a read.

Bookmark – e-Incunabla coming out of their swaddling clothes?

 

In 1774 the House of Lords declared that perpetual copyright was illegal and that the fourteen year limit established in 1710 was the law of the land. What this meant in practical terms is that anyone with a press could now print up their own editions of Chaucer, Milton, Swift, Dryden, Spencer, and others. If everyone could print the same texts, one way to differentiate your product from the inferior output of your competition was through editorial apparatus — introductions, author portraits, and notes. … I just want to call attention to one item in the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections that was sold by one of the more enterprising publishers of public domain material.Between 1777 and 1782, John Bell published a set of 109 volumes under the title Bell’s Edition. The Poets of Great Britain Complete from Chaucer to Churchill. He launched the series with Milton’s Paradise Lost in April 1777 and attempted to maintain a regular schedule of issuing one new volume each week.  Mike Kelly, Head of the Archives & Special Collections at Amherst College, commenting on William St. Clair’s The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period (Cambridge, 2004).

bell-2
British Poetry in a Box” by Mike Kelly
Consecrated Eminence, July 13, 2012 Accessed 13 June 2018

The photo here, presumably taken by Kelly, shows two boxes, hinged and stacked on one another and shaped like a stack of four or five large folios.  Together the two boxes hold 109 small volumes, bound in Morocco leather and gilt-edged, constituting “Bell’s Edition: The Poets of Great Britain Complete from Chaucer to Churchill”  (1777-83). The Kindle of its age, as Kelly puts it.

Anyone who downloads (or ever has downloaded) the free or cheap Kindle versions of the Complete Works of [name your favorite classic author] will know how little “there” there is to differentiate the products in accuracy, quality or even typography much less editorial apparatus. Possibly a sign that we are still in the Age of e-Incunabla.

Kelly’s photos and words led me on to PhD student Jacob Halford’s related comments in “Remediation, or How Digitisation is Changing the Meaning of Texts, Part 1“.  Halford explores how digitization affects how we read texts, understand and find meaning in them.  The digital text gives the reader a whole new experience of the text as the printed book’s structure, font, layout and tangibility of the book are distorted or eliminated.  That may seem an exaggeration, but look at Halford’s photos of Galileo’s “A Dialogue concerning the two chief world systems.”  In one, he holds the book in his hands; in another it appears on a microfilm reader; in yet another it is shown on a computer screen.  The perceptual differences are stark.

In Part 2, Halford illustrates equally well how digitization alters the experience of meaning through how we locate or find the work — from its position on a shelf among related works, to its entry form on the Early English Books Online (EEBO) screen or its entry lines on a screen of search results.   As he says, “Historians when trying to understand the past need to understand the meaning of the book, to understand how it was read, what its value within society was. To forget this because of the removal of the various indications found in a physical book when it is placed in digital collections provides the risk of us distorting our interpretation of the past. We can exaggerate the value of a particular book and in that process miss out on, or undervalue, other crucial books because there is little to inform us of a book’s value and meaning when it is accessed through EEBO. So whilst EEBO gives us access to more books, in that process it loses part of a book’s history, and it is a book’s history that helps us to know its value, meaning and significance.”

This is not to raise another Gutenberg Elegy but rather to ask, What functions and features should we demand of today’s e-incunabula that will make one worth more than another and, more important, will urge them “out of the cradle”? And what affordances “in the network” do we need to understand the social history of ebooks?

Bookmarking Book Art – MIT’s Rotch Library

Rotch Library offers a small but growing collection of contemporary artists’ books. The collection focuses on artists’ books published from the 20th century to the present and explores a range of techniques and technologies employed by the books’ creators.

See also

Bookmarking Book Art - David M. Moyer | Books On Books | Scoop.it
Yellow Submarine? Monty Python? Heath Robinson? Rube Goldberg? Hieronymus Bosch? Albrecht Durer? Quentin Massys? Whatever the influence, David M. Moyer has created choice work under The Red Howler Press. MIT has chosen well.

Bookmarking Book Art – “Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom”

Standing open at 7 foot by 5 foot, is it the world’s largest bound book? The result of Michael Hawley‘s research and field expeditions out of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it is certainly the iMax of books.

Bhutan book presentation
Book Arts Collection, University of Washington Libraries

News coverage:

Compare and contrast:

  • Yale’s Beinecke Library’s double elephant folio of Audubon’s Birds of America.
  • The Marble Books at Kuthodaw and Sandamuni, Mandalay, Myanmar.
Dhammapada Page 1/4, Kuthodaw (1868)
Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu
  • Other forms of large-scale book art can be found here.

 

Bookmarking Book Art – Pien Rotterdam

Again and again, Pien Rotterdam’s works — Sea of Things (2014) and Absences (2015) — reward reading and contemplation.

Sea of Things (2014)
Pien Rotterdam
Border book structure; 11 x 10.5 x 1.3 cm closed; 20 by 30 cm folded out
Image printed into kozo/cotton paper with very fine paper pulp; text and cell-like patterns printed letterpress on kozo/cotton/abaca paper. Set in Atlas and Atlas Light.
Sea of Things (2014)
Pien Rotterdam
Sea of Things (2014)
Pien Rotterdam

The images of the coral, square, circle and triangle are “pulp printed”, a hybrid silkscreen/papermaking technique, which Rotterdam learned from Tim Mosely. The images themselves are made of fine pulp paper, transferred to, pressed and dried together with the receiving kozo/cotton paper.  Message (or image) and medium are one, a sea around the letterpress text, whose words and acts described harmonize with technique, material, color and shape. Here are “pages” 1 to 5 as a sample.

Sea of Things (2014)
Set in Atlas and Atlas Light on kozo/cotton/abaca paper.
Sea of Things (2014)
Pien Rotterdam
Sea of Things (2014)
Pien Rotterdam
Sea of Things (2014)
Pien Rotterdam
Sea of Things (2014)
Pien Rotterdam

 

As with Sea of Things, Rotterdam achieves another singular union of technique and meaning in Absences. Where Sea of Things addresses selecting and collecting, Absences addresses loss, memory and the experience of time.

Absences (2015)
Pien Rotterdam
Concertina structure. Cyanotype on photogram and text paper handmade from kozo/cotton/hemp in different weights, apart from the cyanotype on the back, which is made from Japanese paper. Letterpress in Folio light (lead type) with silver-grey ink. 10.5 x 23 cm when closed, 42 x 23 cm open.
Absences (2015)
Pien Rotterdam
Absences (2015)
Pien Rotterdam
Absences (2015)
Pien Rotterdam
Absences (2015)
Pien Rotterdam
Absences (2015)
Pien Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s explanation of the connection between technique, material and meaning can hardly be bettered:

When I made my first cyanotype photogram ten years ago, I was immediately struck by the way in which light shapes against a deep-blue ground show, simultaneously and paradoxically, what was there when the paper was exposed but what is now no longer there: the photogram makes absences visible. This realisation has led to an exploration of the metaphorical properties of the cyanotype process and to speculation on the relationship between photography, mementos, and memory, between memory and loss, and on the nature of time, in six brief reflective texts.

Rotterdam’s site rewards repeated visits.  It traces her development as a book artist since 2003 and demonstrates mastery and strength at each stage. Her work can be acquired through the site. Rotterdam lives and works in Groningen, The Netherlands, home to the Book Arts NetworkGrid Grafisch Museum and De Ploeg, an artists collective started in the early 20th century.

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