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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research results # 03.




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Report of third presentation [in]visible-project

In the afternoon of Saturday 7th of November 3rd investigation of this project took place. The day before a lot of cancellings were announced. Fortunately the rooms of Archief Synergie got visited well - in spite of the rainy weather. There was a good spirit and varied works of 4 different artists could be admired. Here follows an impression.

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Immediately at the entrance of the rooms several background noices can be noticed. Thus giving an estranging and surprising effect. On second hearings they seem to be coming from 2 separate installations. In the works of Johanneke Lamoraal Wichers the sound of turning pages can be heard. This crackling noice gets more attention hereby. Because of this investigation she has projected a view on the floor of a sidespace. You can see how she turns the sheets of her own books pages by page. Also impossible foldingconstructions get spread out. In this way Johanneke tries to please the audience. According to sooner experiences she noticed that people have a certain diffidence in looking into these books. Because of this intervenience it still becomes possible to enjoy the contents. Through this step the distance between the public and the book becomes much shorter. Recently Johanneke finished her studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. For a longer time she has been busy working with books and booklets. Often they get worked up in installations. Important aspect also is the interaction: how will people react on them and will they bring in an impuls. Placed on white socles there are small intimate booklets that can be looked in. Please go ahead. In a small box there are similar small envelopes that may be taken home. Containing a white sheet of paper that might be sent back in a corresponding envelope (stamp already added!). With the request to the participant of sending it all back after 3 days. Together with the filled-in sheet and a description of the location where it had been situated at that time. All sheets that come back eventually will be worked up into a new booklet...

Matthias Tharang, coming from Zürich and living in The Netherlands for about two years, has a different way of approaching the medium of the book. On a large table a giant-sized book is situated made out of the maximum papersize A0, accompanied by compelling presence of march music. The project is called ‘Per Aspera Ad Astra’, literally meaning: ‘Through Hardship to the Stars’. After careful handling the actual book turns out to be extremely heavy. Or better: unbearable. Its pages are as good as empty, just in the very middle some brief texts are used with the lettertype ‘Bell’, once designed for telephonebooks. The telephonenumbers of all 193 recognized governments in the world are mentioned, each one on a page. Those who are interested can call them. Just take care according the difference in time: in Kiribati it is 12 hours later than in here, in Equador 7 hours earlier. Matthias has called all governments while on the background the unevitable sounds of the martial march music could be heard. Most of surprised reactions can be listenend at on the CD that he has published. Matthias’ main interest is the absurdity of power. A pseudo-sacral form of the book will strenghten its performance. In order to underline this idea he realized the book in the tallest and heaviest size. Whereas the sheets can be turned in the easiest way. During this afternoon hardly anyone can be spotted that turns the pages. The more remarkable to see that each time another telephonenumber shows up in the book.

It is just a small step from the maximum booksize into the minimum. By means of an ingenious construction the complete collection of MatchBoox is present. These matchbox-sized booklets in fact exist of folded sheets with a total length of about one metre long. For this occasion they are hung on the seiling via a hardly visible thread. On the bottom they are connected to the floor by means of small 1,5 cms. ball-bearings. An ingenious solution. Now becoming an autonomous object itself. Recently the whole collection could be watched in Nîmes, France. MatchBoox is an idea of Xavier van Leeuwe and his brother Emmanuel, concerning the whole project as a pleasant but time-consuming occupation. From the start November 2008 more than 50 titles have seen daylight. Some of the authors are unknown, some like Sylvia Witteman and Ronald Giphart are very well known by the general public. These established authors are the most attractive and because of the larger editions of the books they give room to the collection to expand. For instance a booklet has been published containing drawn portraits of owners of 06-(= mobile phone)companies in Amsterdam (‘weekends only’), another booklet is filled with reproductions of reduced paintings made by a French painter. MatchBoox can be ordered by bookshops and via internet. At present on request. Xavier: ‘The orders will be collected. Then we start to print the strips of paper. We cut them and fold them by hand. After adding an embossed stamp we put them into a matchbox-sized box with imprint. In one hour we can produce about 30 copies in this way’.

For the film version of ‘Prospero's Books’ by wellknown British filmmaker Peter Greenaway (f.i. ‘Drowning by Numbers’) in 1990 Ellen Vomberg made a pop-up book. At first she made a sketching version, later a definite one. Both works are situated in the first room on the large tables near the entrance. At first Ellen had an extensive look at children books. Especially to figure out how these forms actually work. The final model that could be used for the shootings is placed in a large glass showcase. It has to be presented in that way because it is a vulnerable object. More approachable and the more sympathetic is the sketching model. That may be touched and turned over without gloves after a short explanation. Because of the pop-ups the book has become rather voluminous. To prevend it against falling down small wooden blocks can be put under. Turning the pages is a joyful event: the story can be followed by means of photocopied and drawn images and texts, from time to time pop-ups of temples and palaces placed on the pages can be admired. Parts of the building constructures are tacked against eachother. Thus also the backsides of these 3-dimensional parts play a role: the staples themselves are worthwile looking at. On every page notes and directions have been placed by pencil. Via a small DVD-player the scenes from Greenaways film can be watched: the camera makes several movements from different angles into the model. The film became a success. After the shootings the model itself became useless to the filmmaker. Both worlds were separated again. Because of the ‘in-visible’-project both film and stage-property get connected once more.