Category Archives: Artists’ books

Artists’ books

“‘Everything will be remembered’, a palimpsest” by Ravikumar Kashi

Ravikumar Kashi, ‘Everything will be remembered’ a palimpsest. Bangalore, India, 2020. Unique edition. Etched copper plate filled with printing ink, copper wire. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection is honored to acquire Ravikumar Kashi’s ‘Everything will be remembered’ a palimpsest, one of four finalist for the 2020 Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) Prize, selected by juror Betty Bright from 158 submissions sent from 18 countries. “Established in 2009, this biennial award is meant to represent the diversity of approaches to book art, honoring one winner and four finalists for their unity of form, material, and content.”

Born in Bangalore, India, Ravikumar Kashi (ravikashi.com) studied painting, printmaking, and papermaking under masters in India, Scotland, and Korea. He received a National award from Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi in 2001 and two awards from Karnataka Lalita Kala Academy 1990, 1999 and one from Karnataka Shilpa Kala Academy for his works in 2000. He has also received first prize in ‘Ventipertrenta’, International Festival of Digital Art 2017, from Museo Internazionale Dinamico de Arte Contemporanea, Italy.

 

Note: “The type face of the second layer of the text is an English font called Samarkan, designed to look like a Sanskrit text, and is intended to act as a visual marker for the Indian right-wing practice of quoting ancient texts to gain validation. It is also a simulation of ancient handwritten palm leaf text manuals from India.”

 

Here is a portion of his artist statement for MCBA, beginning with the background for the work:

On 30th May 2019, the Indian right wing party BJP led by Mr. Narendra Modi formed the central government for a second time. Its election campaign was replete with anti- Muslim rhetoric and sloganeering. That same year, on the 12th of December, the Government of India enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In the weeks following, nationwide protests calling for the repealing the CAA and the foregoing of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was supposed to precede CAA, were held….

In early 2020, following speeches given by BJP leaders inciting their followers to attack and shoot anti-CAA protesters, riots occurred in North-Eastern Delhi. Beginning on 23 February, and caused chiefly by Hindu mobs attacking Muslims, there were multiple waves of bloodshed, property destruction, and rioting. Of the 53 people killed in three days, two-thirds were Muslims who were shot, beaten, or set on fire in the Indian capital’s deadliest Hindu-Muslim riot since 1950. …


The Work Concept:

My work is a combination of copper plates used historically for documentation and the idea of palimpsest.
Copper plates: In the Madras Museum, located in southern part of India, a series of copper plates from as early as 4th century AD have been preserved and displayed. These copper plates recorded various events of their time for posterity.
Palimpsest: a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing; something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

In the light of anti-CAA protests and Delhi riots, I wanted to create a copper plate palimpsest for my time , so that the erasure of our constitutional values will not be forgotten.

There are two layers of text in the work. In the partially erased layer seen beneath, is the preamble to the Indian Constitution, declaring its claim to secure justice, liberty, and equality to all citizens, and promote fraternity to maintain unity and integrity of the nation. That layer is being eroded, and replaced with textual details of Delhi riots, narrating the incidents of murder and rampage. There are Slogans of violence like “We will enter the house and beat you up” or “Shoot the traitors”.

…The title for the work ‘Everything will be remembered’ comes from the title of the poem written by anti-CAA activist Aamir Aziz, lines of which were also recently recited by [Roger Waters] of Pink Floyd:



A section of “Everything will be remembered” by Amir Aziz.

Tum Raat Likho Hum Chand Likhenge,
Tum Jail Mein Dalo Hum Deewar Phand Likhenge,
You could write the night, but we will write the moon.
If you put us in jail, we would jump over the walls and still write.

Tum FIR Likho Hum Hain Taiyar Likhenge,
Tum Humein Qatl Kar Do Hum Banke Bhoot Likhenge,
Tumhare Qatl Ke Sare Saboot Likhenge,
If you would lodge an FIR against us, we are all set to write about the injustice we are suffering from.
If you murder us, we will come as the ghosts and still write. We will write mentioning the proofs unveiling the murders you have committed.
We will write mentioning the proofs unveiling the murders you have committed.

…Sab Yaad Rakha Jayega, Sab Kuch Yad Rakha Jayega,
Aur Tumhari Laathiyon Aur Goliyon Se,
Jo Qatl Huwe Hain Mere Yaar Sab,
Unki Yaad Mein Dilon Ko Barbaad Rakha Jayega,
We will remember everything. We will not forget it at all.
The dearest friends of mine who you murdered with lathis (or sticks) & bullets;
In the remembrance of them, we will keep our hearts broken-down. …

Additional reading: Indian antiquary. Bombay, Popular Prakashan [etc.]
https://hdl.handle.net/2027/coo.31924079325662

Ein Deutsches Wörterbuch

Robert Andrew Parker, Ein Deutsches Wörterbuch (A German Dictionary) (Cornwall, CT: Robert Andrew Parker, 2011). A./P. (artist’s proof). 28 hand colored plates unbound as issued and housed in a cardboard and wood box fabricated by the artist, with “Wörterbuch” stenciled on the cover. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process.

Robert Andrew Parker’s resume includes “hand double” in 1956 for Kirk Douglas’s Vincent van Gogh drawing and painting the art in Lust for Life. An accomplished jazz drummer, Parker not only performs but he wrote and illustrated a biography on jazz musician Art Tatum, Piano Starts Here.

Parker illustrated over 90 children’s books, poetry books, and literary classics. Princeton’s special collections holds around two dozen of these books, beginning with Marianne Moore (1887-1972), Eight poems, written by Marianne Moore; with drawings by Robert Andrew Parker hand-colored by the artist (New York: Museum of Modern Art, [1962]). Edition: 195. Rare Books PS3525.O5616 A17 1962.

Our most recent acquisition is Parker’s German alphabet book, editioned in only 10 copies. An adult alphabet, each letter is matched with a German word and ominous image. T is for Toten Kopf-Husaren (Death’s Head Hussars), other letters hold suggestions of war and pain. In his Print magazine profile “Robert Andrew Parker on Life and Illustration,” Michael Dooley notes:

The German series, originally produced as monotypes in the mid-1980s, is part of Parker’s lifelong preoccupation with war. Born in 1927, he was already sketching combat scenes by the age of ten. And it was his pictures of imaginary battlefields, published in “Esquire” in 1960, that first brought him to national attention. —https://www.printmag.com/post/robert-andrew-parker-on-life-and-illustration

 

Parker is a prolific fine artist and illustrator, with work in hundreds of books and magazines, including the New Yorker, Life, and Forturne (above). Play the wonderful episode of Virtual Memories, no. 283 to hear an interview with Parker:

…based on Elias Canetti’s ‘Auto da Fé’

Ronald King and George Szirtes, The Burning of the Books. A poem sequence by George Szirtes based on Elias Canetti’s novel ‘Auto da Fé,’ illustrated by Ron King. Artist edition (London: Circle Press, 2008). No. 4 of 30. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Writer George Szirtes and artist Ronald King collaborated on this sequence of 14 poems and 15 etchings, inspired by Elias Canetti’s famously grotesque yet marvelous novel Auto da Fe set in pre-war Vienna. Quoting from the prospectus:

“Back in 1971 Ron King at the press in Guildford tried to obtain permission from the publishers to illustrate Elias Canetti’s great novel Auto da Fé. Permission was denied to him, as to all others who had requested it, as the author did not wish his work to be illustrated or made into a play or film. In 1981 the novel won Canetti the Nobel prize for literature but still the writer would not release his tight grip on the copyright. Canetti died in 1994 and ten years later King took it on himself to persuade George Szirtes winner of the Eliot prize for poetry 2004, to make a book with him on the theme of Auto da Fé. Within a short time poem after poem of a powerful sequence directly related to or inspired by his re-reading of the book, the poems living as it were, in the crevices of Canetti’s text, arrived at the press from Szirtes.”

George Szirtes, Introduction: “The sequence is titled ‘The Burning of the Books’ since that is what happens at the end of Auto da Fé. The scholar’s library burns in anticipation of the Nazi book-burnings to come. The poems are fuel for King’s visual symbiotic-organisms, joining them in a mutual homage-cum-conflagration.”

Elias Canetti (1905-1994), Auto-da-fé [Blendung]; translated from the German under the personal supervision of the author by C.V. Wedgwood (New York: Stein and Day, 1946). ReCAP, 3437.27.313.9

 

 

Originally formed by Ron King in 1967, the Circle Press, is both part of a tradition and a breaker of tradition. The stages of its life are marked not only by the individual natures of those whose books and prints it has published but also by the differing character of the decades through which it has passed. “The name Circle Press was chosen by Ron to suggest his vision of a group of like-minded persons working within a shared, supportive framework, a circle which over the period of time has enlarged to include over 100 artists and poet.” Its past history is documented in Cooking the Books – Ron King and Circle Press. See also: https://www.jstor.org/stable/41826501

 

 

 
George Szirtes, “What being bilingual means for my writing and identity,” The Guardian Mary 3, 2014. Hungarian-born poet George Szirtes writes in both English and his native tongue. He contemplates bilingualism and belonging:

Sometimes language seems no more than a piece of tissue paper carried on the wind: flimsy, semi-transparent, endlessly vulnerable, like a deflated talks-bubble, almost weightless. At other times it is a brick wall, or worse still a room with dense walls and no exit, with only the sense of voices beyond the wall, faintly audible and never clear enough, everything they say immediately becoming part of the wall. Always provisional, language appears this or that way to us according to our own disposition and relation to it. … https://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/may/03/george-szirtes-bilingual-poetry-translation

Maple Leaf Rag

Scott Joplin (ca. 1868–1917) and Ellen Banks (1938-2017), Maple Leaf Rag (Atlanta: Nexus Press, 1988). One folded sheet; 35 cm in case 46 cm. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Photo by Kalman Zabarsky for Boston University

 

After seeing her work, no one would be surprised to learn that one of Ellen Banks’ earliest influences was Piet Mondrian. In his essay, “Ellen Banks: The Geometries of the Score,” Graham Lock notes that she “paints nothing but music—not as heard but taken directly from the score and transformed, via a system of personal symbolism, into colors and shapes: ‘Music is my still life, my landscape, my nude.’ Banks is unique … in taking music as the sole subject of her art. Her approach is highly unusual too: her canvases are based not on the sound or performance of music but on musical scores.”

Although primarily a painter, Banks editioned this artists’ book [above] transferring her understanding of Scott Joplin’s notation into color and pattern. It is her visualization of sound in shape and embodiment of tone in hue.

Last two verses of The Maple Leaf Rag
Composition by Scott Joplin 1899; Lyrics by Sydney Brown 1903

The men were struck wit’ jealousy, the razors ‘gan to flash
But de ladies gathered ’round me for I’d surely made a mash
The finest belle, she sent a boy to call a coach and four
We rode around a season ’till we both were lost to reason

Oh go ‘way man, I can hypnotize this nation
I can shake the earth’s foundation wit’ the Maple Leaf Rag
Oh go ‘way man, just hold you breath a minute
For there’s not a stunt that’s in it with the Maple Leaf Rag

https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/4695627/Scott+Joplin/Maple+Leaf+Rag

Alisa Banks’ Fire

 

Alisa Banks, Fire (Dallas, Texas: A Bee Press, 2020). No. 1 of 4. Wool, silk, cotton, thread, paper, wax, ink, and dye with handwritten text. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Visual artist Alisa Banks writes, “… my work addresses the quest for understanding identity and all it encompasses. … Each individual, quiet story coalesces to form a cultural memory that is shaped by experience, ritual, belief, places and relationships, and is called upon to explore connections. …It continues when stories that reference culture, the body, memory, and place are shared. It continues when an object relays an experience, either by paint, thread or paper. It continues.”

The Graphic Arts Collection acquired our first book in Banks’ elemental series. “Part autobiography, part auto-biology, elemental focuses on aspects of identity in relation to the elements Earth, Fire, Air and Water. In each, the viewer is invited to dig through layers that are sometimes easily accessible and sometimes not.”

Fire is the last of this series.

 


 

Based in Dallas, Texas, Banks produced each book in an edition of only four copies. Fire is fashioned of wool, silk, cotton, thread, paper, wax, ink, and dye with handwritten text. Pamphlet cover with pockets containing an envelope with a scroll, inner envelope, and paper rock. The artist notes, ”Fire – orange to red, to blue, to white – is both intimate and universal. Fire catches and holds on to matter, consuming it until it is transformed into something else, an essence. Fire is mesmerizing, in turn lulling and igniting fervor. In religion and mythology, it is the element that represents awareness and consciousness.”

 

 

Fire features stories of the transformative power of action, understanding, and experience. A fabric envelope features text about fire and transformation. The envelope is opened to reveal a scroll that features an account of desegregating an elementary school. The story unfolds to reveal another fabric envelope featuring an account of the transformative power of motherhood. Inside the envelope is a paper rock that speaks to the unboundedness of love.”

 

https://www.alisabanks.com/news

https://www.alisabanks.com/body

 

 

 


Poésie pour pouvoir

Henri Michaux (1899-1984), Poésie pour pouvoir. Text and frontispiece by Michaux. Design and linocuts by Michel Tapié (Paris: René Drouin, 1949). Copy XII of 46, signed by Henri Michaux et Michel Tapié. Teak wood portfolio printed with the title and fitted with 34 steel nails. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process. Provenance: Collection of Geneviève and Jean Paul Kahn.

Is there a way to release the magic of poetry stagnating within conventional printed literature? Can you make a book with the power to exorcise a condition or complaint? These are some of the questions that led to Poésie pour pouvoir, with poetry by Henri Michaux (1899-1984) integrated into pictorial linocuts by Michel Tapié (1909-1987) and published in February 1949 by Galerie René Drouin in Paris.

Only a handful of copies of this singular “book-object” as Michaux and Tapié conceived it with the nailed wood cover were completed, in fact only two others can be found in North America besides the one now held in the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University.

A seminal work of post-war Paris, the story of Poésie pour pouvoir’s production is also magical. It began in the late 1930s with Michel Tapié’s involvement in “Les Réverbères,” a neo-Dada group, which led to his collaboration with Aline Gagnaire on the hand-printed publications Le Cheval de 4 and Deda L-E. Tapié eventually joined René Drouin’s gallery as artistic advisor, focusing on the promotion of a wide circle of artists that included Henri Michaux.

 

In 1947, Henri Michaux and his wife traveled to Egypt, where the magical power of hieroglyphics inspired the poems, “Je rame” and “À travers mers et desert.” These texts went unpublished until Tapié proposed to “put them into a space in the form of a book-object.”

Using the crisp, quick black and white technology of linoleum block printing that Tapié perfected while working with the Réverbères, he designed and cut Michaux’s words so they fluctuated between white text on black shapes and black text on white pages incorporated with his own abstract figures. The majority of the 46 copies were produced with only a paper cover.


A full recounting of the year leading up to February 1949, when the final work was exhibited at Drouin’s gallery, can be found in Tapié essay “Commentary on an exorcism,” Les Cahiers de la pléiade 1950.

“…. Mon projet de départ était de graver ce texte sur lino, le lino étant la technique la plus brutale et la plus directe des violentes oppositions de noir et de blanc, et de présenter l’ensemble des tirages dans une couverture de bois clouté, l’ensemble du travail étant jour par jour suivi et approuvé par Henri Michaux; L’esprit d’aventure qui préside aux activités de René Drouin poussa celui-ci à accepter le risque d’édition avec enthousiasme, et il mit l’équipe de sa galerie à notre disposition pour une rapide réalisation. Rapide en effet il le fallait; Michaux nous avait bien prévenus: si nous n’allions pas vite, le poème, lui, irait plus vite que nous et se retournerait contre nous… je pus assez vite graver tous les éléments n nécessaires à l’édification de la maquette complète.

The book’s construction took place at the Drouin family farm, under the daily supervision of Michaux. René Drouin (1905-1979) chose the arrangement of the nails on the covers, Aline Gagnaire (Tapié’s former collaborator) pieced together the wooden cover, and Drouin’s son, Jean-Claude, cut the nails to be hammered into the cover (originally plywood and only later teak wood).

Tapié was almost done with his share of the printing when he became ill and could not finish, leaving it to Gagnaire to complete the book. So many things went wrong, they called it was a cursed project, fueling the myth of a magical book.


As for his part, Michaux wrote:

 “La force exceptionnellement opératoire de ce poème, jointe au fait de son élection unique, centrant justement sur ce texte toutes les intentions d’intervention-de pouvoir-de l’auteur, me donna une furieuse envie d’en faire une édition où je tenterais de forcer les usages du livre dans le même rapport d’échelle qu’Henri Michaux l’avait fait ici par rapport non pas seulement à la poésie, mais même, comme je ne le sentis d’ailleurs que bien plus tard, à l’usage, par rapport à ses plus efficients exorcismes. Le problème consistait à fabriquer un objet receleur de force supportant ce texte de sorte que sa vue, son contact, tant épidermique que musculaire provoque au maximum l’expansion effective de cette force, puisque magie il y avait.

 

It is a tragedy that OCLC no longer allows local notes. To find copies that include the rare nailed wood cover, a reader must log into every library in the world individually. Otherwise they would not know, for instance, that Houghton Library has copy no. V with “unbound sheets, as issued, laid into original printed paper covers; in original hinged wooden boards, with title printed on cover, decorated with metal studs. In burlap-covered board slipcase.”

It was Tapié’s idea to pound nails into the wooden binding using the same aggressive energy as Michaux’s incantatory texts. The action references the practices of the Romans, who manufactured defixion or curse tablets, as well as African practices of incorporating nails into power figures called nkisi nkondi. The physical hammering of the nails into Poesie pour pouvoir was meant to embed magical powers into the book, just as Tapié’s pictographs unleashed the power in Michaux’s words.

 


Galerie René Drouin closed in 1950 (later revived in a different format), Michel Tapié went on to promote Art informel, from which Michaux distanced himself, continuing to draw and write in his own personal style. No other magic book-objects were attempted.

 

For more on this and other works by Michaux, see Raymond Bellour’s Henri Michaux Ouvres Complete (Gallimard, “Bibliothèque de la Pléiade”, 1998), https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uva.x004550124&view=1up&seq=1276&q1=%22poesie%20pour%20pouvoir%22

Henri Michaux (1899-1984), Commentaire d’un exorcisme ([Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1950?]). Beach 3269.96.325. Presentation copy to Sylvia Beach with inscription by Henri Michaux.

 Le Cheval de 4 (Paris: M. Tapié, A. Gagnaire, J. Jausion, H. Bernard, 1940). Graphic Arts Collection Q-000727. Issued in 4 fascicles. Each has a separate title: [no. 1] “Le Cheval de 4” (“tirage limité à 26 ex. hors commerce et 6 ex. de luxe”) ; [no. 2] “Dédal-e” (“Tirage limité à 28 ex. hors commerce et 3 ex. de luxe”) ; [no. 3] “Huit poèmes pour Cécile / Noël Arnaud” (tiré à 150 ex. environ dont 35 de luxe) ; [no. 4] “Expédition Tapié” (tiré à 27 ex.).

 

 

Also designed by Michel Tapié while at Galerie René Drouin: Francis Picabia (1879-1953), 491 (Paris, René Drouin, 4 mars 1949). Marquand Oversize ND553.P58 T36 1949e. “50 ans de plaisirs” par Michel Tapié. Catalog in newspaper format issued Mar. 4, 1949 for Picabia exhibition of 136 works dated 1897-1949.

 

A section of Poetry for Power in translation:
I row
I have cursed your brow your belly your life
I have cursed the streets your steps pursue
The objects your hand grasps
I have cursed the inside of your dreams

I have put a puddle in your eye and it no longer sees
An insect in your ear and it no longer hears
A sponge in your brain and it no longer understands

I have chilled you in the soul of your body
I have frozen you in the depth of your life
The air that you breathe suffocates you
The air that you breathe has an air of cellars
Is an air that has already been exhaled that hyenas have expelled

The dung of this air no one can breathe any longer

Your skin is moist all over
Your skin sweats the sweat of the great fear
Your armpits exhale from afar an odor of crypts
The animals halt when you pass
The dogs howl in the night their heads raised toward your house

 

 

 

The irresistible “wow” factor of Charles LeDray’s Book Ends

The unpacking and opening of this new acquisition has been documented below to avoid any misunderstandings with our reading room or the reading public. Seen here is the latest in a continuing series of deluxe limited editions published for the Library Council of the Museum of Modern Art under its editor May Castleberry.

Over the past two years Charles LeDray, an artist known for creating collections made up of a multiplicity of carefully crafted and often very small objects, produced a collection of 177 unique “used” miniature books and this week, the Graphic Arts Collection received its unique edition of LeDray’s Book Ends.

 

 

Writing for the New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl observed, “The bite-size world of LeDray’s miniature sculptures is the real world scaled to thought—which, of course, must be compact enough to fit into our crowded skulls. . . . Beyond the irresistible “wow” factor of LeDray’s workaholic perfectionism, there’s a profound delight in grasping the quiddity of a specific mop or a lonesome cinder block. Even when the works are fanciful . . . they have the obduracy of righteous Minimalism, defying associations with the cute or the twee.” —https://www.newyorker.com/goings-on-about-town/art/charles-ledray

Here is a description from MoMA: “LeDray’s volumes are miniaturized, abridged, and altered versions of eighteen used books that the artist found in secondhand shops, yard sales, or on the streets of New York and his own library. The list of eighteen . . . recall and reveal the multiple histories and fragile aspirations and creations of another era. The artist’s constructed artifacts, seemingly marked by the passage of time, illuminate the journey of a set of books through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

. . . To create miniature ephemera to be placed in each volume, he made over 1,500 drawings based on old bookplates, library cards and other printed or drawn pieces of his own invention that might have been inserted in a forgotten book. These pieces were printed by hand-letterpress by the Grenfell Press and by Peter Kruty Editions in Brooklyn.

. . . Each of these hand-sewn volumes measures less than four by five inches. Some are bound in cloth, some in paper; in all cases their covers have been foil stamped to replicate the covers of the original books. Working from LeDray’s drawings and mostly using letterpress, Miller and Ewing at the Grenfell Press, with the help of Peter Kruty Editions in Brooklyn, New York, printed over 1,100 pieces of ephemera, each unique.”

 


Of the 177 volumes, most of which went to the members of the Library Council, to libraries, and to the artist, 18 copies were set aside to make a unique sculptural set of 18 unique volumes as a gift from the artist to The Museum of Modern Art.

 

 

Read more about Charles LeDray:

https://www.icaboston.org/exhibitions/charles-ledray-workworkworkworkwork

http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/reviews/kley/charles-ledray-at-whitney-museum1-7-11.asp

https://www.speronewestwater.com/exhibitions/charles-ledray/installations

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8a5gXYzK2A

http://www.nyartbeat.com/event/2019/3DA3

https://www.peterfreemaninc.com/exhibitions/charles-ledray/press-release

 

 

VOID

With sincere thanks to Eduardo Cadava, Professor of English, and an Associate Member of the Department of Comparative Literature, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the School of Architecture, the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, the Graphic Arts Collection has acquired a wide variety of artists’ books and photobooks from the Athens collective known as VOID. https://void.photo/store According to their website:

“Created in October 2016, Void is a non profit organization focused on alternative publishing, exhibitions and education. Our goal is to engage in a series of projects around photography and other visual arts. We are open to new ideas, and you are more than welcome to get involved and be part of our projects. It’s our goal to make Void a platform for exchanging ideas with people living both in Greece and abroad. We have collaborated with many Greek and International photographers and institutions like American Suburb X, ISSP, Athens Photo Festival, Istanbul Photobook Festival, Lucy Art Residency, PHmuseum, LensCulture among others. If you feel like reading more about Void, here you find a nice feature by Cat Lachowskyj for LensCulture.”

The titles come in all shapes and sizes and formats including a variety of bindings, papers, and electrical devices. Each author appears to have designed their own. To see more information, check out the website where each project is described in detail.

As with several other acquisitions, this order was made long before the virus hit everyone but it was worth waiting for. Please note they are welcoming new projects and portfolios:

“Void is a small but very passionate team, formed by only 3 overworking members, struggling hard to deliver the best results to the projects that are already in-house. For this reason, be patient. If we fall in love with your project, you will know it. One day. But you will. Now, send us that PDF. We are as curious as busy.”
https://void.photo/contact

This is just a tiny sample of the 3 dozen or so publications received.

Dictionnaire botanique or livre d’artiste, take your pick

J.J. Audubon spent his life tracking and painting all the birds in America. Edward Curtis spent the majority of his adult life photographing the Indians of North America. In this extraordinary set of four volumes, a Belgian natural history enthusiast or scientist or doctor spent “most of my life” writing and illustrating a study of transformism, or what we would call evolutionary theory. And if that weren’t enough, the elephant folio Étude sur la transformisme comes with a three volume Dictionnaire botanique, every page hand written and hand colored.

This massive and extraordinary gathering of knowledge addresses everything from air currents to the working of the inner ear; from geography to biology; from Charles Darwin to Victor Hugo. The books are illustrated throughout with thousands of the watercolor paintings. It has been dated from the early 20th century, although the truth is there is no date yet found in any of the volumes. We can only hope it will catch the interest of a future researcher, patient enough to read the small print and find out the truth about the books and their anonymous author.

Étude sur la transformisme holds approximately 150 leaves, many folded, all heavily illustrated in full color. The three volume Dictionnaire botanique offers more than 1200 with several thousand color diagrams, charts, and paintings.

Although the sheer weight of the volume is pulling the paging from the binding, its impressive cover still holds the book together, offering four quotes to the reader:

La vie sans science est presque l’image de la morte, C. Volpi = Life without science is almost the image of the dead

Chercher. Comprendre. Vouloir. Pouvoir. Oser. Sentir. Méditer = Search. Understand. Want to. Power. Dare. Feel. Meditate

Naître, mourir et renaître sans cesse, telle est la loi, telle est lavie. V. Hugo = To be born, to die and to be reborn without ceasing, such is the law, such is the life.

Travailler pour être estimé. Etre estimé pour être aimé. Etre aimé pour être heureux = Work to be esteemed. To be esteemed in order to be loved. To be loved to be happy

 

 


There is the name Dumoulin, but we known absolutely nothing about him or her or them. It is unlikely this refers to the French artist Louis-Jules Dumoulin (1860–1924), who founded the Société Coloniale des Artistes Français in 1908. “Dumoulin is an Orientalist painter linked to the official artistic circles and a great traveler from the various missions that will be entrusted to him. He made his first major trip outside Europe in 1888 on the occasion of an official mission to Japan ordered by the Ministry of Education.”

 

 

 

Here is the description that comes with the set:

The large folio volume is really a huge collection of charts devoted to human anatomy, animal and plant biology, the fossil record and evolution (or transformisme). Botany makes up the largest proportion, but there are sections on insects, reptiles, birds, flying lizards, marsupials and mammals. Dumoulin also had an interest in Africa and there are sections on the Sahara and on the Belgian Congo. The focus is worldwide and is drawn from reference works rather than original research, but the arrangements are highly idiosyncratic. Several evolutionary charts are attempted, mentioning Linnaeus, Darwin, Lamarck and Jussieu.

The Dictionnaire botanique is a large 3 volume compilation mainly devoted to botanical classification, from the smallest mosses and seaweeds, to exotic flowering plants and forest trees. Like the larger folio volume, these volumes are illustrated throughout, with accompanying text in coloured inks and often containing emblematic figures of human figures appropriate to the origins of the plant: including Africans and Americans. They have apparently been bound from a large number of separate files (whose stiff paper cover with labels are preserved) each devoted to a different botanical family. The third volume contains additional materials at the end, including a study on Pasteur and germs, another on insects and another on bird classification. Like the preceding parts, these are also copiously illustrated in colour.

There is a note inserted that the author hoped his/her/their work would find its way into a university. Happily, the unusual set found a home in the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University. Please share the few facts presented here with colleagues and let us know if you have a theory about this massive undertaking.

Guillermo Deisler and the Peacedream Project


 

The Chilean-born visual poet Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995) was imprisoned in 1973 under the Pinochet government before being exiled to France, Bulgaria, and finally Germany. It was in Halle (Saale) that he began publishing the international mailart portfolio known as the Peacedream project UNI/vers(;) together with Hans Braumüller, Theo Breuer, David Chikladze (Georgia), Pedro-Juan Gutierrez (Cuba), Joseph Huber (Germany), César Figueiredo (Portugal), K. Takeishi-Tateno (Japan), Spencer Selby (USA) and many others.

“For the Latin Americans,” wrote Deisler, “including some of us right now, that voluntarily or driven by political circumstances are obligated to exile, those that work in ‘art by mail’ transform into a palliative that neutralizes this situation of ‘deceased citizens,’ the name coined by Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos for this massive emigration of cultural workers from the South American continent”

Published between 1987 and 1995 in 35 numbers, Deisler edited each issue focused on visual and experimental poetry. “The project encouraged visual and experimental artists to submit 100 works. 40 artists were put together in one issue, each artist receiving a copy of the magazine. Uni/vers (;) transmitted messages and poetry with simple matters. It was poetic communication bearing in mind the mass being available. In its best case an issue was simultaneous poetry in a collective form without censorship or borders.”–From http://centrodedocumentaciondelasartes.cl.;

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to acquire a partial run of UNI/vers(;) as well as a small group of his artists’ books and concrete poetry.

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Exclusivo hecho para usted (Juego) (Antofagasta, 1971). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Gregorio Berchenko, Knock-out: poemas visuales / Gregorio Berchenko; cubierto, Guillermo Deisler (Antofagasta, Chile: ediciones Mimbre, [1971?]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Poemas visivos y proposiciones a realizer (Antofagasta: Ediciones Mimbre, 1972). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Poesia visiva en el mundo / selección y notas de Guillermo Deisler (Antofagasta, Chile: Ediciones Mimbre, [1972?]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Le cerveau (Marseille: Nouv. Eds. Polaires, 1975). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Stamp, 1990. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), UNI/vers(;): visuelle und experimentelle Poesie international: Magazin 1 / 5 jahre 5 years peacedream project uni/vers(;) 1984 – 1992 / peacedream project uni/vers(;) visuelle und experimentelle … (Berlin, 1992-1994). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process
See all issues online: https://www.fondazionebonotto.org/en/collection/fluxus/deislerguillermo/8403.html

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Everything I do is poetry (Cleveland, OH: Generator Press, 1996). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process