Investigating forms of presentation of the Artist’ Book.

The book on the table. /// The closed archives. /// The book in a box. /// The open archives. ///
The book on the shelves. /// The book underfoot. /// The book on the ground.
/// The book in an intimate space. /// The book as installation. /// The book in a working space. ///
The book as an object to walk around. /// The book as a concept for a space.


participant: BookCase [# 05]


BookCase: A New Initiative In Rotterdam

In conversation with Judith Vogt, owner and initiator

On December 1st 2009 BookCase in Rotterdam opened its doors. A new artspace and bookshop/breeding place as well where artists’ books can be watched and bought. The opening itself was performed by pianist Iris Hond, who landed here with her ‘flying wing’. About 70 people presented enjoyed the mini-concert that she gave. BookCase is a new activity and unique in its kind in Rotterdam and would like to reach another sort of public with the combination of art- and bookspace.

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Initiator is Judith Vogt, visual artist and originally German-born. After wandering around in The Netherlands – Judith followed the studies at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam – she decided to establish in Rotterdam, together with her partner Tijs Bakker. The premises is located on the Noordereiland (North Island), a village-like enclave with a historic sense in the middle of urban hustle and bustle. The Van der Takstraat crosses the island where in former times sick immigrants were nursed before they could try their luck in the new homeland. At first the space was named Chinaski, after the bookcharacter created by American author Charles Bukowski. They gave up that name, because not everyone was known with it. Or pronounced it in a wrong way, whereby the suggestion was raised that it’s all about the Chinese sky. They decided to call the new space De Zwarte Ruyter (the Black Rider) after a 19th century pub situated in that area.

Judith has a passion for books. Within her free work she makes drawings and organizes performances, whereby she involves her direct living space or surroundings. Thus she painted all her clothings in black and hung them on the line in a meadow. An estranging act that she caught on Super 8-film. She also created life-sized books made out of doors whereby the hinges formed a steelen pinch. The wish not only to make books but especially to promote her beloved editions lead to the decision to initiate a book-collecting place and – platform.
October 2009 Judith called up to ‘bookmakers’ to send in their books and the result may be there. More reactions than expected came and everyone reacted positively. In the case books within broader view can be looked at, made by artists from the country that keep on working within this medium. In addition to unique bookworks, small editions and books published under direct management, books made by small publishers like d’Jonge Hond and cooperations like ‘Fw:’ can be found at BookCase. The subsidy for the project came in just a week before opening. Thanks to a financial support/sponsoring by Woonstad (housing association) finally the stairs – especially designed by Vladi Rapaport – could be realized. The stairs gives a feeling of entering an airplane and is also meant as a niche, an object friendly to the public where all the eyes are pointed on. Those who climb on the stairs can take in the whole collection.
At first the case should exist of several small cases, but this idea was renounced: it would distract too much from the books. A very large case would better fit into the concept. In order to turn over the leaves from the books and bookobjects undisturbed and to smell and touch them. In Judith’s vision the physical aspect is important. Thereby she has full confidence that people will take care of the books. Because there is so much to see, a case like this has its restrictions: it can be overloaded fast. The decision was made to show only the covers of the books, larger books and magazines are situated below. Probably an expansion will follow. Or a selection of the books can be made, a special theme worked out. Lots of possibilities.

BookCase gives room to many reactions. These are important for further development. Since the ‘opening’ of the case lots of strangely formed packages and (hand)written letters arrive. Judith loves it all. Little by little she gets to know more about the artists and their books. Because of her direct involvement she can tell everything about them to those who are interested.
There are already some more plans for further projects. For de WildeBoekenMarkt (Wild Book Market) in February 2010 Judith is planning to make a large trunk that can be used as a travelling exhibition. In March participation in the Museum Night of the Goethe Institute will follow. Bookmaker Aquil Copier initiated a plan to exhibit his extra large bookwork. This might lead to a ‘VeryLargeBook’-manifestation? The other exhibition rooms are separate from the case, but can also be involved into a greater book-show. Besides the space is perfect for organizing workshops in it. Afterwards the result can be seen and discussed directly. In short, BookCase is open for new ideas.

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