Dear Cleo 18 04 24

Dearest  Cleo

It is another beautiful day, I hope you are going somewhere nice so you can enjoy the sunshine, me, I am staying home to finish painting the bathrooms in the breaks I take between the coats of emulsion drying I will carry on with the tale of the artists book.

By the early sixteenth century printing techniques were improving rapidly. Durer made the woodblocks for the fifteen prints from the Book of the Apocalypse that secured his fame across Europe. The most famous of the series is The Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

A new problem arose in that you no longer needed a monastery full of monks to produce multiple copies of an artist’s book and so began the formulation of the laws of copyright.

A printing techniques further improved other artists collaborated with printmakers to produce artist’s books, perhaps most famously with Goya’s Los Caprichos and Disasters of War and Turners Liber Studiorum in the nineteenth century. In Japan at the same time Hokusai in collaboration with wood block printers produced a 15 volume set of Manga. Curiously the word Manga is the Japanese word for sketches it is not strictly a Japanese word but I don’t have the right letters on my keyboard, perhaps it just sounds like a Japanese word.

Of the modern and contemporary artists Hans Peter Feldman collects things, photographs the collections and compiles the photographs into an artist’s book. Wolfgang Tilllmans’ and Sol le Witt’s artist’s books are composed of photographs of either their own artworks or photographs. Eileen Hogan photographs her own paintings and drawings in collaboration with a poet or writer to produce her artist’s books.

From examining the history of artist’s books the subject has become a little less mystical and I have arrived at a definition of an artist’s book that goes something like: “An artist’s book is a collection of finished work by an artist on a related theme in collaboration with the latest technology of printing to produce a showcase of the artists work.”

Botticelli’s book was the original Panini sticker book as the text was completed way before the illustrations which were later pasted in and the Book of Kells has a marvellously ornate cover, but apart from that, there are lots of book shaped artist’s books. It was Dieter Roth, whose deconstruction of the book format in his artist’s book 2 builderbucher, established the convention of “When is a book not a book” that established the trend for the various Artist’s Book formats that are common today.

Well, you have been a great girl to read all this over the past two days and check up on the hyperlinks, tomorrow will be easier going because the post will have less words and more pictures.

My love as always

Mickos xx

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