Keeping a collection stored in protective boxes is not exactly the best way to share one’s passion for artists’ books. This is what Art+Paper is about, opening the boxes, browsing through a collection of roughly 700 books (so far) that range from the 60’s to now.

The collection is not focused on a very specific type of art, although conceptual practices have their lion share for natural reasons – conceptual artists have found in books a creative medium as important as photography, painting or installation. The spectrum is rather large, and does not necessarily fall in precise definitions of what artists’ books are (cf. Moeglin-Delcroix “Esthétique du livre d’artiste”). The case of photobooks, for instance, could be discussed: though photographers are not always involved in the book design, sequencing remains a key part of the creative process. Moreover, photobooks were sometimes designed as an alternative to gallery exhibitions, thus being an integral part of the artist’s work. Simply put, I could not refrain from adding Lewis Baltz’ New Industrial Parks to the list. 

The books featured in the collection are not always rare, or produced in a limited edition. Some of them are easily findable in art bookstores or websites for a reasonable price. Deluxe editions will not be featured on the website, keeping the focus on regular editions, except for books where the deluxe format achieves something beyond the “signed & numbered” issue (one example being Alec Soth’s Broken Manual, for which each copy is hidden inside an old volume). 

The goal is to have you wander through the collection, with different paths, either chronological or thematic. “You may also like” links also help to navigate in a (not exactly) randomly manner. Hopefully, the ballad will offer interesting view points, keeping boxes open for a while. 

Tarek Issaoui