Nina Rodin>Writing> Book art in art practice




Book art in art practice - Summer retreat

date > August 2014


> About the retreat:

I have a long-standing interest in books as a format for visual art works. In particular I would like to see books more often in museums and galleries. Most artists nowadays work in more than one media (painters often also work with photography, or video, or performance, or sculpture, for example) but few have ever given much consideration to making a book beyond exhibition catalogues or sketchbooks. So I am on a bit of mission to give books their rightful place in the contemporary art world instead of always have books relegated to specialist makers and collectors. This said, making a book is quite a complicated project as it requires a lot of different considerations to be made at every step of the way. From choosing paper, to writing text if there is to be any, font, binding method, cover design, layout. In many ways designing a book is as complex a proposition as hanging an exhibition. The advantage is that every aspect and variable can very much remain in the hands of the artist. The book is like a small portable, self-contained gallery space, designed for a single viewer.

In the summer of 2014, I invited a number of artists working with books and related disciplines to come and exchange ideas, techniques and knowledge about making art works in the form of books. I gathered knowledge of book binding, graphic design and typography, printing, paper, the history of the art book and everyone was given a table and basic supplies to experiment with what they were learning and demonstrate what they knew. There was no teacher-student dichotomy in that everyone taught and learnt in equal measure in a peer-to-peer exchange.

We visited a traditional swiss bookbinder and one of the directors was able to come and spend some time with us in the studio in Trelex. This gave rise to a number of works being realised in collaboration with these extraordinarily skilled swiss craftswomen. The two weeks were extremely enjoyable and productive and I hope to organise similar book retreats in the future again.


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