Books On Books Collection – Francisca Prieto

The Antibook (2002)

The Antibook (2002)
Francisca Prieto
Book: 205 x 105 mm Icosahedron: 15 x 17 x 19 cm

The Antibook deliberately opposes convention by challenging our ideas of what a book should be. Using the text of Nicanor Parra’s AntiPoems Francisca visualises the poem’s idea of ‘Anti’, creating a work that reacts both with and against its deconstructed material.

Francisca uses modular origami to extend the dimensions of the flat page and change the lines of its folds, producing a book that only makes sense when assembled as a three-dimensional icosahedron. When in a conventional format, bound with one spine, Francisca’s pages cannot be read. Creating a visual defiance from a material usually confined,

Francisca forges new meanings for the resistant ‘Anti’ – and for the book as an object itself.

Artist’s description. Accessed 20 September 2019.

To hold and turn The Antibook in your hands to read Parra’s poems makes the book of poems strangely more palpable than the conventionally bound version. The work as a whole has its maximum effect when the reader/viewer engages with both the icosahedron and bound book, weighing the experience of each against the other.

Printed Matter Series (2002-2008)

Printed Matter (2008)
Francisca Prieto
Ten prints. H594 x W420 mm. Edition of 15, of which this is #14. Acquired from the artist, 4 December 2020.
Photos © Francisca Prieto, displayed with permission of the artist.

By investigating the nature of print, numerical and alphabetic characters, the Printed Matter Series alludes to, or poses, a partial origin story for the alphabet. Archaeological finds suggest that numbers preceded letters, and the Hebrew alphabet includes numbers with its letters.

Graphic artists and, especially book artists, seem to place the characters we use to express any word or message right alongside ink, paint, paper as just one more raw material for making art. As Prieto writes on her site,

Breaking down the lines of typographical characters, meaning is celebrated for its form, abstracting the shapes of these figures curious yet perfunctory flicks, curves and flourishes. Type’s personality is felt through its familiarity, so when these recognisable symbols are split, adjoined and turned on their head, the results are playful and stylised – questioning our own oblivious acceptance of the way things ought to be or read.

Francisca Prieto (2018)

Hill, Sophie. Francisca Prieto (Santiago, Chile: Fundación Lustro, 2018).
Hardback – slipcased, 300 pages, 250+ Ills
Bilingual: English and Spanish
Limited edition of 2200 230 x 280 x 35 mm

Having seen Composition No. 1, I can attest to the precision of its folds. Like The Antibook and all of Prieto’s works I have seen, it is nearly impossible to resist touching it. By using this old cricket club record book and placing it on a diagonal like a falling wicket stump, the artist adds paper-dry humour to a beautiful work of book art.

Further Reading

Francisca Prieto I”, Books On Books, 25 May 2014.

Francisca Prieto II”, Books On Books, 4 March 2015.

The Antibook – Francisca Prieto”, Collection Items, British Library, n.d. Accessed 13 September 2019.

Banks, Caroline. “Francisca Prieto – work with paper and metal”, One-minute blog of interesting things, 2 July 2018. Accessed 13 September 2019.

Trench, Anna. “Francisca Prieto’s Between Folds series creates origami windows into the past”, It’s Nice That, 26 February 2013. Accessed 19 September 2019.

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