Artists have repeatedly returned to the theme of the artist’s book and continue to do so today. They have explored the limits of the medium using traditional and experimental means, producing everything from flawlessly executed presses adorned with original graphic prints to meticulously designed syntheses of text and image, published in small print runs or even as one-off works. The customary book design, whereby the contents are bound together on sheets and feature an opening to one side, is completely reimagined through the use of unusual materials or fold-out elements; multi-part book installations further expand the scope of what is possible.
The Herzog August Bibliothek is keen to stay abreast of current developments in augmenting its collection of artist’s books. It is not uncommon to find surprising links and associations with the historical holdings, for instance with Ronald Lippok’s illustrations for Deutsche Poëtische Gedichte by the Baroque poet Sibylla Schwarz or James Walsh’s choice of the herbarium for his expedition into the flora of New York (The Arctic Plants of New York City). Texts not only by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and the American author Gertrude Stein but also by contemporary writers such as Wolfgang Hilbig and Annett Gröschner form the basis for entirely new works. Some artists such as Ken Campbell and Gerhild Ebel use their own texts, whether on paper or on large-format sheets of canvas. In Liegend / im Fall (with a text by Uwe Warnke), Korean artist Hyewon Jang transforms the classical book form into a ribbon of words, elaborately folded using paper. Although their approaches are very different, it is obvious that the content and the outward appearance blend into an indissoluble material entity.
In 2017, the exhibition Neue Seiten – Zugänge zur Künstlerbuchsammlung (New pages: Approaches to the collection of artist’s books) presented a selection of new acquisitions that demonstrate the autonomy and originality of this artistic genre, which is set apart from the art market.
Claudia Berg, Ken Campbell, Gerlinde Creutzburg, Gerhild Ebel, Barbara Fahrner, Felix Martin Furtwängler, Cornelia Groß, Sarah Horowitz, Hyewon Jang, Clemens-Tobias Lange, Ronald Lippok, Sonngard Marcks, Patrizia Meinert, Yasutomo Ota, Robin Price, Raphael Rubinstein, Veronika Schäpers, Ilse Schreiber-Noll, André E. Steinhausen, Johannes Strugalla, James Walsh, Marshall Weber
Ken Campbell, Ulrike Draesner, Gerhild Ebel, Udo Grashoff, Annett Gröschner, Wolfgang Hilbig, Thomas Lang, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Kakuzo Okakura, Stephan Reich, Pierre Reverdy, Kathrin Schmidt, Sibylla Schwarz, Gertrude Stein, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Uwe Warnke