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 # 05.




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Report of fifth presentation [in]visible-project

5th Stage of the project started Saturday 6th of March 2010. The meeting had a different character than 4th presentation. Then the works of 9 participants could be observed. This time it was all about the research of 4 visual artists. Each of them is working already for a longer time. About 70 people interested could take notice that this Saturday afternoon.

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In Balta’s work language often is a starting point. Normally this will be expressed in installations – made in order or without -, project-based works and books. In case of the ‘in-visible’-investigation she put a table in front of the window, with a view on the waterfront. In this way the light can shine in perfectly. And it does this Saturday! The artist Balta has just room enough at this square table for 2 large round plates. Thereon pictures and texts related to the weather. The words are completed with computer-notations, in order to make it actual and to make it a less distant event. To make it more perceptible.
The installation is titled ‘Blind Date’ and will be a scenario for 2 people, meant to show their inability. It all has a sacral emanation, it’s not meant to eat from it literally. Everything might be touched nevertheless. The bookwork in the middle can be looked at in 2 different directions. Inside there are (in)direct references to the weather in Dutch. The table-cloth on which the plates have been placed is decorated with pictures of streetmarks. Below, in the direction of the floor, kind of sketches are embroided in a bit clumsy way, done on purpose. To give it a personal touch, to give up conventions. With this form of presenting Balta has in mind that the public is allowed to touch the installation. Besides because of the presence of the works of others in the same rooms the pleasant restlessness of a living space will be created. According to Balta each form of communication is a game, using a language is like travelling.
By showing different bookworks on tables a reading cabinet will exist in which visitors can have a look at the bookworks without any rush. F.i. there is a booklet with the mysterious title ‘GL’, (in Latin: Genius Loci, in this way meant as a form of ‘identity’ of a place), the streetnames of Marseille have been classified again on this theme. F.i. religion, important dates, references to the sky. The booklet entitled ‘Help u zelven’ (Help thy selves) is all about the use of language that was completely normal a century ago, but has a different kind of value nowadays.

Helga Kos hung parts of her bookwork ‘Ode aan de Kolossale Zon’ (Ode to the Collossal Sun) on the archive’s wall. In a delightful simple way, using pushpins and clips. In order to make it easier for the public to get in contact with the bookwork. The book itself has been placed on a table especially made for this occasion. Helga noticed that people have little idea of the meaning of an ‘Artists’ Book’ and that they will look in a different way if they see (part of) separate pages. The actual book exists of 3 parts, each one containing 3 compositions inspired by the song cycle ‘Last Poems of Wallace Stevens’ by Ned Rorem. The number of 9 is important in these contexts. The 3 parts have been connected by means of Velcro: forming a complete volume, but at the same time they can be looked at independently. The book has been printed in a large amount of printingtechniques. A large diversity in colour and form has been brought in on purpose. Different pictures have been placed in spreads, sizes of pages changed. And there is also a dot that repeats itself in several forms: printed, punched etc. Thus contrasts in music can be translated into the book. The music has been added ingeniously by an orange CD, representing the Colossal Sun. It can be listened by means of a soundsystem. From the beginning Helga thought it was important that the pages should be kept flat. That’s why the book has been bound with a black spiral binding. The book has been composed around that spiral. Helga also shows the wooden travelcase containing some separate pages of the book – it can be placed on a bike easily, but also used for transportation when going abroad -, just like the screenplays she made for the creation of her large epic poem. A book that had been formed during a period of more than 5 years. As Helga says by herself: “I just could make this book at a matured age. Not before, I wouldn’t have the patience and experience to do suchlike. Working on it had an almost addicting effect”.

At the end of the seventies Lydia Schouten published a magazine called ‘Modern Denken’ (Modern Thinking) together with her colleague-artists Els de Groot, Gea Kalksma and Adri Tock, anxious to know more about the influence of media in daily life. The magazine f.i. was filled with interviews with female artists, the artscene and –environment at the end of the seventies/beginning of the eighties and published in an uncommon way in black-and-white.
It had been completed in an edition of 1500 copies in the Graphical Studio in Rotterdam.
Lydia and her fellow editors weren’t educated as journalists or magazinemakers. Just that fact gave a free athomosphere. They saw doors going open with the publication of the magazine, people eagerly would like to associate themselves. Giving easy contact with others. After a few years the publication stopped.
Filling in this investigation Lydia put the ‘Modern Denken’-zines on the tables, so that they can be looked at in total. A few copies still exist and they might easily get lost or damaged. In a gallery Lydia should exhibit them in showcases. Printed books are also presented. They can be put on a table and can be looked at just because there are some more copies. After her period of making magazines Lydia continued making performances that she recorded on video. Open-minded and unballasted. Whereby she performed the leading part by herself again. Sketches she therefore made she put into scripts. She’s showing them for the first time in years. These unique copies are now on the table, visible for anyone, having the same restrictions as the magazines. Requesting the answer: “What are the results of these scripts?” in a sideroom of the archives the video’s can be watched. In this way there is an interaction between concept and realisation. Lydia is considering a co-ordinated scriptbook, a gathering of all ideas of the last years.

Entering the rooms a literally human-sized book entitled ‘Melancholy Girls’, made by Seet van Hout can be admired. September 2009 it was exhibited f.i. in Middendorf Gallery in Baltimore, USA. For years Seet van Hout is questioning about the functioning of dreaming. She reads a lot about that and thinks about in astonishment. The title of the work refers to an old Indian booklet with the same name about dreams. The roomfilling book that Seet created literally refers to the shape of a bed: a pile of blankets on which or under which one might put oneself down for dreaming. Looking for the perfect page, turning the sheets. The public can walk around from several directions. The pages are made out of diferent stuff. Textile materials seem to be ideal materials: they can be folded and pleated and thus information can be hidden and shows up in different manners. It has been a work for years for Seet to make the book appear in this form. Patient handiwork is important: all embroided stitches were handmade piece by piece and thus form traces through time. This way of working is splendidly forming a link in remaining the memories.
At the beginning two nice teen-agers, ‘Melancholy Girls’ alive, start turning the pages. With care they pick up a corner of the pages, both on another side, and walk to the other side, turning them. Than they walk back and the act repeats itself. Embroided forms, mostly in red and pink-variations, pictures and texts with and about brainmasses and sometimes nothing more than just showing the patterns of the material: a multitude and fullness of information. The backsides of the embroided brainpatterns are interesting at least: a tangle of colours and brain-structures. When the book has been ‘finished’ applause follows and the girls start to lay back all the pages one by one, patient and minute.
The book has been exhibited in four galleries up til now and people were allowed to turn the pages by themselves. Now Seet is thinking of having made a film/video in order to show the most convenient way for her of handling with the book. How that is going to work out is uncertain for the moment. “Melancholy is a beautiful state of mind” according to Seet van Hout. The public was allowed to experience it.