If there is one thing that gets me going it is artists’ books.
Actually I should define that a bit more because I do love books about art but more recently I’ve also been enamoured with the concept of artists’ books.
There are a few definitions of these but essentially they are works of art created out of books whether these are made or an existing book that is modified artistically by the artist.
I love the Wikipedia definition that artists’ books are works of art realised in the form of a book.
Artists’ books can take many forms including scrolls, fold-outs, concertinas or loose items contained in containers as well as bound books.
If you think that these artworks end up looking just like normal books you would be wrong – just check out some images on the internet to see the kind of variation involved.
There is a rich and wonderful history associated with printing and books and I think that this is what drew my interest first because I have always loved to read.
Artists have always been associated with the writing and illustration of books but it is thought that the original concept of an artists’ book originated from the English poet William Blake who with his wife Catherine wrote, illustrated, printed, coloured and bound books.
In the early 1970’s the artists’ books began to receive recognition as artwork.
Since this time there has been discussion and debate, study and cataloguing and very importantly collections began to develop.
Australia has a very active artists’ book scene with exhibitions and competitions being held.
Maybe they’ve always been around but more lately I have been noticing them – probably because I am busy writing and producing books of my own.
However, at a few recent student exhibitions I’ve noticed artists’ books starting to appear and they are brilliant.
My only complaint is generally being works of art you can’t actually grab them and have a good look which is kind of sad because to me books are obviously there to be handled.
It is a bit like textile art – I definitely have to link my hands behind my back to stop me touching!
Oh – I really, really liked the final bit of information that Wikipedia listed as a critical issue and item of debate for artists’ books.
With all the attention that artists’ books are now receiving there is plenty of discussion on how to define artists’ books, whether artists’ books are fine art or craft and finally, and very importantly, where to put the apostrophe!
It has taken me a very long time to remember exactly where this goes when writing artists’ books – if they change it now I am doomed!