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.

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participant: Emmi Martin, Rikhardinkatu Library Finland [#2.]


Rikhardinkatu Library Finland Emmi MartinRikhardinkatu Library Finland Emmi MartinRikhardinkatu Library Finland Emmi MartinRikhardinkatu Library Finland Emmi MartinRikhardinkatu Library Finland Emmi Martin Rikhardinkatu Library Finland Emmi MartinRikhardinkatu Library Finland Emmi Martin Rikhardinkatu Library Finland Emmi Martin

Artists’ books are situated somewhere between literature and visual arts. Distinctive and interesting, these books are often collectors items. In Finland collectors are mostly private individuals who collect them for their own pleasure. The artists’ book collection of Rikhardinkatu Library is the only public collection in Finland. This art-orientated library is one of the biggest branches of the Helsinki City Library. The collection is in the nature of a reference library, with no lending of the works. Emmi Martin – working in Helsinki City Library - was appointed custodian of the collection, with Pirjo Lipasti in charge of cataloguing.

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There are currently over 300 artists’ books from about 200 artists in the collection, along with over 20 works about this subject. Publicising the collection did not happen overnight but articles about it have appeared in several newspapers and magazines. It had been featured on radio and television and many groups have visited the library already.

Acquisition policy concentrates on Finnish artists and on unique and printed works, but there are some foreign books too. It’s not simple to obtain these books because they are never sold separately. Works therefore have to get purchased through all kinds of channels, to a large extent based on personal contacts. Most of the works have been acquired from exhibitions held by individual artists. Some more than 30 book-exhibitions have been organized, covering not only works by Finnish artists but also artists from Italy, Poland and Russia. International exhibition ‘Arcadia Id Est’ was shown in 2006.

Early on there were plans to make the collection available on the internet as a web gallery. This gallery was opened in autumn 2004. It is containing information about the artists, images of the works, information about artists’ books in general and about exhibitions as well as selected links. The RikArt-webgallery is playing an important role in making the collection known to the public.


Emmi Martin represents: Kristoffer Albrecht, Niklas Bengtsson, Tatjana Bergelt, Synnöve Dickhoff, Esko Eerola, Tizzi Fib, Petra Giacomelli, Jenni Livonen, Eeva-Liisa Isomaa, Martti Jämsä, Olof Kangas, Anja Katainen, Reijo Kärkkäinen, Liisa Louhio, Elina Merenmies, Sirkku Mikkonen, Leena Neuvonen, Elina Rantasuo, Alexander Reichstein, Cia Rinne, Jenni Rope, Katarina Simpura, Senja Vellonen, Magi Viljanen, Susanna Virtanen, Eija Zweygberg.

more information: rikart.lib.hel.fi/ and www.lib.hel.fi/en-GB/rikhardinkatu/kuvia/