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: Ellen Vomberg [# 03].

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Ellen Vomberg makes drawings, graphics and spatial works that she regularly combines with installations. The works are handmade and the proces of coming into existence often stays visible in the definite product. As an almost logical sequence in working with space out of the flat form she also creates pop-up books, usually with architectonical forms.

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Vomberg (Dordrecht, 1960) studied graphics at the Academy for Visual Arts Sint Joost in Breda. She finished her studies at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam on the department of Autonomous Arts. By which she specialized in the combination of drawings, graphics and spatial works. Central idea in her work is the human being, as well in autobiographic as in common sense: corpse, architecture, culture, society and history.

Because of the combination of drawing and threedimensional work she was asked to create a pop-up book during the filmproduction of ‘Prospero’s Books’by Peter Greenaway (based on ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare). The book has proceeded from already existing drawings, graphics and achitecture from the Reniaissance, f.i. by Piranesi and Da Vinci. Three out of five pop-ups have been realized as a scenery for the film. In the film ‘A book of Architecture and Other Music’ can be seen clearly and it plays a leading part in the story: the making of a new city full of libraries for the banished king and booklover Prospero.

For the investigation at Archief Synergie Ellen Vomberg exhibits this film property. In this way she wants to bring in working with ‘stand-ins’ from the perspective of the filmworld as a possibility to bring artists’ books more within reach and especially make them more tangible. Stand-ins comer closer to the original looking at materials than in using photocopies. In this way except from seeing all other sense-organs can be involved into the work.

The final book that had been filmed can be seen behind glass in a closed showcase. The leaves of the former study for the same book that later got worked out into the stand-in can be turned over by spectators themselves. In this way the looker-on can come very nearby and can form an idea of the original.

It might be clear that exhibiting artists’ books is not that easy. Pop-ups have extra problems in showing. Actually it should be made possible to move them. Two open pages in fact don’t say anything. Vomberg sometimes switches over on transparent covers, whereby the folded contents can be made visible. So two identical copies in static circumstances, one closed and one opened, can give the spectator an idea of a movement in a way. Some pop-ups however are that surprising that they can’t be imagined before, even when one is experienced.