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Book as Gift: When Beauty Visits, Lee Mingwei

Let me start with a caveat: the object of exchange in Lee Mingwei’s artwork isn’t strictly a book, it’s an envelope containing a story. I wanted to discuss it though because the artwork itself is irresistible.

Documentation of performance 'When Beauty Visits' by artist Lee Mingwei
Lee Mingwei – detail of performance ‘When Beauty Visits’, 2017. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

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Book as Bibliography: Valises, Raymond Hains

The artist Raymond Hains plays an interesting game with us in his artwork Valises; an installation which comprises a utilitarian metal shelving system stacked with box files, metal Airbus cases and plastic packing crates filled with books and index cards.

Valises, Raymond Hains. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017
Valises, Raymond Hains – Installation View. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

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Book as Meat: Various Works, John Latham

British conceptual artist John Latham (1921-2006) is an intriguing artist who frequently worked with books, producing provocative sculptural artworks, works that are attractive from a distance, but uncomfortable and brutal up close.

John Latham - Various Works
John Latham – Various Works. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

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Book as Keepsake: Al Saadi’s Diaries, Abdullah Al Saadi

Years ago, inspired by the Bell Jar, I read Silvia Plath’s diaries. The salient memory of that labour was how artfully she translated even the most banal daily event, giving a literary sheen to often underwhelming everyday existence. Al Saadi works the same kind of magic here, but in a visual way.

Abdul Al Saadi - Al Saadis Diaries 2016
Abdullah Al Saadi – Al Saadis Diaries 2016. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

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Book as Relic: Janus Code, Michele Ciacciofera

Michele Ciacciofera’s installation Janus Code (2016-17) is a collection of artefacts that resembles a dreamlike museum exhibit. Apart from the occasional concrete items (a butterfly, seeds, a stone), many are handmade, created with unexpected materials to resemble familiar-looking objects and displayed like anthropological specimens.

Michele Ciacciofera - Janus Code
Michele Ciacciofera – Janus Code. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

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Book as Timekeeper: Aqua Alta, Michel Blazy

Michel Blazy‘s Aqua Alta was displayed at the 2017 Venice BiennaleAt first sight the work looks like a neat stack of pristine books. On closer inspection they better resemble catalogues or fashion magazines. In actual fact they are anonymous leaflets, featuring scenes which appear to relate to Venice. Looking even closer one can see ridges and channels cut into the paper, like a small landscape of canyons and valleys.

Michel Blazy, Aqua Alta, 2017
Michel Blazy, Aqua Alta, 2017. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

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THEORY: Books On Books, Peter Willis

Publishing as Artistic Practice
Publishing as Artistic Practice – Book Cover. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

In conjunction with the 2016 Artist Self-Publishers’ Fair at the ICA (London), Peter Willis wrote this excellent survey of books related to artists’ publications.

I’ve been using it as a bibliography for my own reading so wanted to share the books here. Continue reading THEORY: Books On Books, Peter Willis

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Book as Anchor: Dapunta Hyang – Transmission of Knowledge, Zai Kuning

A structure floats; the majestic hull of some dream ship. It’s huge, but nearing on the intangible. This is not quite the ghost-like art of Do-ho Suh’s, but evokes a similar feeling; the concrete-turned-transparent. This fragile tableaux is a combination of simple elements brought together to create a striking work.

Zai Kuning - Dapunta Hyang
Installation View. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

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