Books On Books Collection – Nerma Prnjavorac Cridge

Sarajevska Abeceda (2019)

Sarajevska Abeceda (2019)
Nerma Prnjavorac Cridge
Paperback coloring book. H217 x W215 mm, 34 pages. Acquired from Amazon, 3 January 2021. Photos: Books On Books Collection.

Сapajeвск Aзбукa (2020)

Сapajeвск Aзбукa (2020)
Нермa Прњaворaџ Криџ
Paperback coloring book. H217 x W215 mm, 36 pages. Acquired from Amazon, 6 January 2021. Photos: Books On Books Collection.

These two coloring books do not integrate letters and buildings as Johann David Steingruber’s Architectural Alphabet does, but they speak to the multilingual theme recurrent in book art and the abecedaries in the Books On Books Collection (see Further Reading). In this case, the artist uses the two alphabets and the besieged city’s architecture as a memorial to her father, who was wounded in the siege.

The books also act as an entry point to Cridge’s installation art, which engages with what Ian Wallace has called “the literature of images”. Two particular installations — both curated by Cambridge’s Art Language Location (ALL) — serve to demonstrate the affinity of her art with themes in the Books On Books Collection: comm(o)nism (2018) and Antonym/Synonym (2019).

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress), Books On Books Collection, 31 March 2020.

Architecture“, Books On Books Collection, 12 November 2018.

Cridge, Nerma Prnjavorac. 2017. Drawing the unbuildable: Seriality and reproduction in architecture. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. See also “Antoine Lefebvre Éditions“, Books On Books Collection, 28 September 2020, for a work of book art related to the “unbuildable” Tatlin Monument.

Bookmarking Book Art – Jorge Méndez Blake

Mallarmé’s Library (2011)

Biblioteca Mallarmé (2011)

Jorge Méndez Blake

Metal, wood, mirror, resin, plexiglass + drawing. 95x180x150 cm (table) 50×70 cm (drawing). Photos: Courtesy of Estudio Jorge Méndez Blake.

Silvia Ortiz, founder of the gallery Travesía Cuatro in Madrid, writes

In this exhibition entitled Biblioteca Mallarmé, the artist establishes once again the link between his artwork, literature and architecture. On this occasion Jorge Méndez Blake reformulates the concept of library, this time to a library-shipwreck, a library stranded on the coast, as a wreck. 4 November 2011 – 1is 6 February 2012. Accessed 4 September 2020.

Photo: Courtesy of Estudio Jorge Méndez Blake.

Photo: Courtesy of Estudio Jorge Méndez Blake.

All of the works making up the exhibition pay homage to Un Coup de Dés. In keeping with the sub-genre of the homage to an homage, though, this work eponymous with the exhibition draws on Marcel Broodthaers’ homage to the same poem. With its colorfulness, it might also be drawing on Mario Diacono’s JCT 1, a MeTrica n’ABOOlira (1968), Ian Wallace’s Image/Text (1979) or Klaus Detjen’s Ein Würfelwurf niemals tilgt den Zufall (1995). With its three-dimensionality, also perhaps on Geraldo de Barros’s Jogos de Dados (1980s), Albert Dupont’s Désir-Hasard-Dés (2000), or Kathy Bruce’s Navigating the Abyss (2008). Probably not, but this gathering of artists attests to how much Mallarmé’s poem has permeated the genre of book art and its permutations.

Méndez Blake’s originality here arrives in the juxtaposition of the poem’s shipwreck in the form of resinous burnt detritus on the table and flotsam in the print on the wall with the mixed-media blocks on the table recalling books on library display as well as Broodthaers’ rectangular black redactions in his homage or appropriation. Appropriation is very much a theme in this work and the exhibition.

Exhibition view, Travesía Cuatro, Madrid, Spain.

Du fond d’un naufrage (2011)

Du fond d’un naufrage (2011)

Jorge Méndez Blake

Bricks and book. 1.61×1.20×1.06 cm. Photo: Courtesy of Estudio Jorge Méndez Blake.

Another work in the exhibition, Du fond d’un naufrage (2011), differs in material and shape from any previous homage to the poem. The work’s title (“from the bottom of a shipwreck”) comes from a line in Mallarmé’s poem, and cheekily, the volume at the bottom of the gap between the bricks is Mallarmé’s Collected Poems and Other Verse (Oxford University Press).

Toute Pensée Émet un Coup de Dés (2012-2019)

Toute Pensée Émet un Coup de Dés (2012-2019)

Jorge Méndez Blake

Photo: Courtesy of Estudio Jorge Méndez Blake.

Not in the exhibition but continuing the association with Un Coup de Dés and the theme of appropriation, Toute Pensée Émet un Coup de Dés (2012-2019) is a series of nine drawings that

reproduces classic shipwreck paintings using colored pencil. Classic painters used often the strategy of bending the mast, as a way to show the instability of the ship in the storm. These drawings go through an editing process, in which an image of the original painting is cropped and rotated X degrees to achieve the mast verticality and to make the scene look as if the ships were avoiding the fatal destiny. But by “fixing” the mast, the whole landscape loses its horizontality. Correspondence, Estudio Jorge Méndez Blake, 4 August 2020.

Further Reading

Large-Scale Installations (Updated 3 August 2020)”, Bookmarking Book Art, 3 August 2020.

Peden, Georgia. “Denver’s MCA exhibits adapted literary illustrations”, DU Clarion 9 October 2017. Accessed 23 August 2020.

Books On Books Collection – Nicolas Guyot

POÉME: UN COUP DE DÉS JAMAIS N’ABOLIRA LE HASARD par STÉPHANE MALLARMÉ (2019)

Poème: Un coup dés jamais n’abolira le hasard (2019)
Nicolas Guyot
Unique cover with silver bromide printed image on Wenzhou paper mounted on handcrafted canvas; 16 leaves, 11 pages of text with silver bromide printed images on 160 gm drawing paper. Edition of 76, of which this is #16 and signed by the artist.

Detail of front cover © Nicholas Guyot

Details of pages © Nicholas Guyot

Back cover © Nicholas Guyot.

Guyot’s livre d’artiste sits self-assuredly in a long line of works inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé’s seminal 1897 poem Un Coup de Dés. Unlike Ellsworth Kelly (1992) but like Christiane Vielle (1989) and others, Guyot integrates his images with the text. In print technique, his silver bromide echoes the silver gelatine of Ian Wallace (1979), but Guyot’s unique cover prints and hand binding distinguish his work from any other in the long line. His technique and layout evoke a feeling of the late 19th century, the contemporary images respond creatively to the original poem’s own cryptic imagery, and altogether the effect is a simultaneity across time, poet and artist.

Guyot writes that Alain Badiou’s Petit manuel d’inethéstique (Éditions du Seuil, 1998) and Quentin Mellaissoux’s Le nombre et la siréne (Éditions Fayard, 2014) were particularly inspiring for this work (correspondence, 21 April 2020). In addition to the artist’s book, Guyot created several paintings (H39 x W65 cm) inspired by the poem and these philosophical reflections.

Further Reading

Badiou, Alain. Petit manuel d’inesthétique (Éditions du Seuil, 1998). Available in translation: Handbook of Inaesthetics (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006).

Meillassoux, Quentin. Le nombre et la sirène : un déchiffrage du Coup de dés de Mallarmé (Paris: Éditions Fayard, 2014). Available in translation: The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarmé’s Coup de Dés (New York: Sequence Press, 2012).