Ny Art Book Fair coming up

NY Art Book Fair is coming up (19-22 Sep). Check the website, the exhibitors list is impressive. Such an event proves that artists books are alive, and can gather a larger audience than expected.

A Focus on a priceless book : Peter Downsbrough's LINK

Here is a priceless book, that can’t be bought.

As stated on Hatje Cantz website, Peter Downsbrough “ has created a minimalist, delicate volume in a limited edition of 300, which connects the reader with the author: LINK cannot be bought, and can only be exchanged for another book, of any sort. Send a book of your choice and let yourself be surprised.” The swap won’t be possible forever, as there are only 300 copies available.

In a circular reference to conceptual art, I sent an artist book by Lawrence Weiner. A few days later came Peter Downsbrough’s LINK, a thin volume, and a nice gesture.

Interview link : "How Dieter Roth invented the artist's book"

Here is a link to an interesting Artspace magazine interview with Sarah Suzuki, MoMA curator, on "how Dieter Roth invented the artist's book".

Ed Ruscha is also referred to. Bruno Munari could have been, too !



A Focus on Juergen Teller's Self Service limited edition

I’m not a huge fan of limited editions. Simply adding a signed print to a book, even with a slipcase, does not add much to an artist’s book quality. Often, it is simply a non-creative way to feed an exclusive collectible market. There are a few exceptions to that rule however.

A Focus on Ferdinand Kriwet's books

As early as the 60’s, Ferdinand Kriwet used language as a basic resource for his works, in what appears to be an attempt to extend concrete poetry beyond its traditional borders (along with Ian Hamilton Finlay, Isidore Isou or Hansjorg Mayer, Kriwet contributed to “Between Poetry and Painting”, a seminal show curated by Jasia Reichardt in 1965).

A Focus on Sam Falls' Lattice

Sam Falls’ art is process based, in a transparent way. Some works are made “with the assistance of light” (to paraphrase Walead Beshty), others with the help of fruit slices (to overpaint photographs of fruits). His art does not involve pain or magic power. It is simple, low-tech, and yet, very powerful.

In Lattice, an edition of 10 unique artist’s books, Sam Falls used fencing material, placed under the book pages, and rubbed colored crayons over the surface. Even the title, the artist’s name and the publisher’s name are “printed” that way. As the publisher’s description puts it, “the result is a multi colored impression of the fencing pattern”.

Tokyo bookstores

Back from Tokyo, a must stop for photobook lovers. There are indeed plenty of bookstores, most notably in Kanda Jinbocho area, where visitors are given a map to guide them through. The choice is vast, and for the western collector, price is another incentive. Japanese photobooks can sometimes be found at a fraction of the price we are used to (though it seems the collecting craze, for instance on Moriyama or Araki titles, has had some impact even on local prices). Consider dedicating  at least one afternoon to the Jinbocho area only.

A Focus on Wade Guyton's Black Paintings

From the moment I had Wade Guyton’s Black Paintings in hands, I knew it was a great book, but it took some time to understand why (perhaps a good sign).

First, the physicality of the book: it is in the same time quite heavy and very flexible. The numerous images are printed on glossy offset pages, with an unusual feel for the reader.

A Focus on Pol Bury's Milano

At first glance, Pol Bury’s Milano looks like a postcard booklet, similar to those sold in touristic areas (a walk down the Eiffel Tower would give some illustration of that..). A closer inspection reveals that the images of Milan monuments have been re-processed, bits have been cut, distorted, pasted. The result is a visual tour de force, a melting pot of abstract op-art and urban photography. This process is named “Cinetizzazioni” by Pol Bury, a way of giving movement to a fixed image, though not in a realistic manner (especially in the case of monuments, made of stone).

Offprint & Paris Photo

This year's Paris Photo and Offprint fairs helped to demonstrate, in my view, that books are now the most vibrant part of the photography world. Some people might even argue that it has always been the case... At Offprint, located this year in the Ecole des Beaux Arts, it was refreshing to see so many publishing houses, with high standards of quality (at least, as long as book design is concerned). In a perfect world, I could have bought dozens of books. The list finally got down to two of them : Sebastien Girard's last book, Strip-o-Gram, and Paul Kooiker's Sunday.