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.

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.