Christian Boltanski: Le Club Mickey
Collection of the Institut français Slovénie
The artist’s book presents a series of newspaper photos of children from the Mickey Mouse Club in moments depicting their most vulnerable periods. By cataloguing these faces as well as the membership numbers of the Mickey Mouse Club members, Boltanski reveals his own fascination with historical memory and the way in which we construct the past.
The work of French conceptual artist Christian Boltanski explores the nature of classification and inventory-making and how these relate to our need to construct the past. Death is used by the artist as a metaphor to communicate his doubts, while at the same time managing to transcend the categories of morbidity and despondency tied to it.
The book was published by Imschoot, Uitgevers in Ghent. The first edition of 400 copies was published in 1990 and the second edition, in a circulation of 600 copies, in 1991. The book has 32 pages and 148 illustrations.
Ed Ruscha: Babycakes with Weights
Collection of Art Publications, inv. no. 5565
What is a “babycake”? Ruscha had a good idea and provided some good examples in this classic artist’s book of photographs of various kinds of cakes, bound in light blue paper and a pink ribbon. In fact, this is a unique book among Ruscha’s books in terms of content. With flocking on the cover, this extremely rare bookwork moves beyond Ruscha’s romance with Los Angeles architecture and into uncharted waters.
The artist’s book, published in 1970 by Multiples INC., New York, has a paperback cover, 52 pages with 22 offset reproductions of black and white photographs of a baby with 21 cakes (whole and cut), 1 cover page, 1 copyright page, 1 photo credits page, 27 blank pages. The book is in English. It is bound with pink satin ribbon through two drilled holes, tied in a bow on the front cover. 1200 copies are unsigned and unnumbered.
Chuck Close: A Flipbook
Collection of Artists’ Books
Flipbooks are those little books that show a movie or animation in your hands when you flip the pages with your thumb. People of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities are fascinated by flipbooks. They are fun, creative, affordable and have a universal appeal that is timeless. When people see a flipbook, they always get excited.
Chuck Close’s book is at least three times larger than the standard flipbook format. It is made in such a way that a self-portrait of the artist produced in 2000 appears to the viewer as he flips to the last page. The artist’s unique work can be viewed close-up, in detail, and also as a whole. Close is known for his hyper-realistic, large-format portraits and self-portraits, which he paints in a distinctive and recognisable manner. The elements of the painting are seen as separate abstract markings when viewed from close-up, while at the same time, the artist maintains the illusion of a realistic portrait with the pixel-like way of constructing the image when viewed from afar. The artist wants to provide the viewer with the same experience of looking at his work also in his flipbook.
The book was published in 2005 by Fliptomania Inc. Berkeley, Canada. It has 90 colour pages and a colour cover.
Robert Filliou: Livre étalon
Collection of Art Publications
Robert Filliou was a member of Fluxus, a community of artists that carried out experimental performances in the 1960s, which emphasised the artistic process over the finished product. Filliou believed that there is no need for art to be expressed in the form of an object. For him, art was a game that could take the appearance of an unrealised notion.
His mostly ephemeral works, usually made of rope, card and wood, present different but witty and partly poetic ideas and images. Filliou’s ephemeral works undermine established notions of what art is or should be. The book before us is also an ephemeral piece that cannot be understood with any clear explanation. In this case, the artist states: “All literature – past, present and future – can be objectively evaluated at last, thanks to the STANDARD-BOOK (Livre étalon), which alone ensures the faultless measurement and impartial assessment of printed matter(s).”
The book was published in 1981 by Dieter Roth in the form of a 4 x 80 cm concertina booklet.
Alfredo Jaar: Let There be Light: The Rwanda Project
Collection of Art Publications
In his longstanding art career, Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar has consistently explored the politics of the image, the problematics of representation and various human rights issues. A significant part of his oeuvre focuses on the African continent. His pioneering project in this field was The Rwanda Project 1994–1998. In a masterful and subtle style, the work addresses the question of how it is possible to engender empathy and affect, in a world saturated with images of violence and suffering. For the artist, the focus of this project is the issue of human rights and the problem of representation: the dichotomy between photography and violence, suffering and pain.
The Rwanda Project generated a number of conflicting reactions. The artist’s book is its summary. It deals with the systematic murder of African Tutsi men, women and children by the Hutu ethnic group in 1994. The artist travelled to Rwanda in August 1994 to see what happened and took thousands of photographs, focusing on the survivors. In this presentation, he singled out one in particular, Gutete Emerita, a young woman who witnessed the killing of her husband and two sons and who, with her daughter, miraculously escaped, hiding in a swamp for three weeks. The Rwanda Project attempts to counter and transform the conventions of photojournalism, which frequently objectifies violence through unmediated images of victimisation. Alternatively, Jaar reverses the lens’ eye to focus on the eyes of the witnesses and the hauntingly beautiful landscape in which this massacre was enacted as a means of eliciting an emotional response from the viewer. The artist’s book is merely one element of the project, while the remaining are original photographs and films.
As the world wants to forget, Alfredo Jaar, one of the greatest moralists of our times, reminds us of the horrors of the Rwandan genocide with his images.
The book was published in 1998 by Actar Publishers, New York and has 200 pages.
Elisabetta Benassi: Storyboard, (You'll never walk alone)
Collection of Art Publications
In this book, the artist has taken two separate stories and interwoven them. The photographs in the book are actually a collection of stories from two of the artist’s videos, You’ll never walk alone and Timecode. The common thread is Pier Paolo Pasolini.
The main protagonists of the first story are Bettagol, who is the artist’s alter ego, and a young man, strikingly similar to Pier Paolo Pasolini, riding a motorcycle. In a parallel to this story, as a comment or a video soundtrack, images appear of the old Totò and the young Ninetto, the main characters from Uccellacci e uccellini, the film where Pasolini poetically transposed the theme of the end of ideologies. Pasolini seen from the artist’s eyes, without nostalgia and with the intensity of real experience, is brought into her present. This imaginative twist offers no conclusion, giving the reader/viewer the opportunity to fill the gaps in it himself.
The book was published in 2002 by Onestar Press in Paris. It has 150 pages printed in black and white offset, it comes in a paperback with a colour cover, and was published in an edition of 250.
Damien Hirst: I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now…
Collection of Art Publications
This dynamic and provocative collection of Hirst’s ideas and obsessions is a powerful combination of text and visuals. It contains visual narratives based on drawings, words, photography, typography, pop-ups, special inserts as well as other special effects, which make this book unlike any other.
This extensive publication – Hirst’s first – contains the artist’s statements and words along with his selection and arrangement of images. It is a dazzling collection of the artist’s ideas and obsessions about life and art. The book encompasses the full range of Hirst’s paintings, sculptures and installations that have been produced up to the date of publication – and which continue to provoke both scorn and admiration among critics and viewers. An essay by cult novelist Gordon Burn looks at Hirst’s work and the breadth of its impact.
The book, which has more than 700 colour illustrations, was designed by Jonathan Barnbrook. This is a landmark publication that has redefined the fine art monograph. The book was published in 1998 by Booth-Clibborn Editions, London, in English, on 330 pages. It comes in a hardback, with stitch binding and an illustrated cover.
Jan Dibbets: Roodborst territorium/Sculptuur 1969
Collection of Art Publications, inv. no. 4329
Robin Redbreast’s Territory is a book documenting an installation, which Jan Dibbets set up in an Amsterdam park in 1969. The artist observed and recorded the movements of the Robin Redbreast bird in nature with his camera. The book, published in 1970, is the artist’s only bookwork and is one of the more important works of the time.
While reading several books about the Robin Redbreast bird, the artist learnt about its habits and decided to expand its territory by placing poles on which the bird would perch, thus establishing new boundaries. In this way, the bird participated in the artist’s work.
The left side of the slim volume features photographs and topographic studies besides the artist’s handwritten notes in three languages (English, French and German) on the right.
Jan Dibbets abandoned painting in 1967 and began to create ephemeral installations in nature, which he then also photographed. The act is not an end in itself for the artist: he is most interested in maintaining the meaning of the work as he believes that in the end, it is not the reality of the installation that matters, but the idea that inspired it.
Dibbets’ idea was to use his new understanding of the habits of the Robin Redbreast bird for the concept of drawing in space and the desire to visualise ecosystems. He realised that he could not share his idea with others until he discovered the artist’s book format, which he recognised as the right means for spreading his idea. In this sense, the book is not merely a form of documenting the installation but its physical conclusion.
A. L. Steiner: STOP
Collection of Art Publications, inv. no. 1235
STOP, a bookwork by photographer A. L. Steiner, is a poetic visual document of the paper industry. The book is divided into three chapters. It begins with a silent lament carved into a tree trunk: Help me! This is followed by the photographs – “portraits” of isolated trees in the landscape, further followed by documentation of their fate. From page to page, we observe how trees are felled, stacked, loaded and eventually left in giant factories. The book concludes with an inventory of disposable paper products: paper rolls, cardboard boxes, newspapers, paper cups, paper bags and, self-critically, the pages of the book itself. STOP draws attention to the physical history of the paper bound into each copy of the book and points to the viewer’s involvement in the consumer production process. The awareness of this complicity, which does usually not come to the fore during reading, is the subtext of the book. Steiner’s perspective is broad and introspective. The sharp, yet lyrical images in the book draw attention to the mass destruction of the environment in order to sustain our consumer culture.
The book was published in 2003 by Onestar Press in Paris, limited to an edition of 250 copies. It has 186 unpaginated pages printed in black and white offset. It is glue-bound and comes in a colour paperback cover.
You are the Weather, Roni Horn
Collection of Art Publications, inv. no. 1894
American artist Roni Horn has been travelling to Iceland regularly for many years, where she stays for extended periods of time. This is where the ideas for her installations and books with drawings and photographs are born.
You are the Weather is an extremely beautiful artist's book, which is minimalist and complex at the same time. It confronts us with the mysterious surface of the face of one woman. The book is an intimate and erotic artwork without ever being sexual or explicit. The book cannot be viewed in the usual passive way. We find ourselves in front of the open face of an unknown woman while experiencing her beauty, depth and mystery. The woman's face anchors our gaze but does not return it. So before us, we have an artist's book that is as challenging and enigmatic as it is beautiful and intimate.
Roni Horn about the book: “... it concentrates exclusively on this one woman, on close-ups of her face. I photograph this woman, Margrét, in the water. This was very important, as water is a true key phenomenon in Iceland. It was quite an easy relation. I did not say anything about what she had to do. She simply got into the water and I began to take photographs. In sunlight or under a stormy, cloudy sky – the water surrounded her, her hair was sometimes wet and sometimes tousled by the wind. You can not look at this woman in the traditional manner of nude photography. You look at a woman, who is also looking at you. Through her relation to the water, the light, the wind and the weather, she takes on these different personalities.”
1985–1994, Ed. Maeght, Paris
In 2018, 11 volumes of NOISE magazine were acquired for the Collection of Art Publications. The NOISE contemporary art magazine was published by the Ed. Maeght publishing house in Paris between 1985 and 1994. The 17 volumes of the magazine featured the original works by contemporary visual artists face to face with the unpublished texts by poets, writers and philosophers. The magazine was printed in French, with the original versions of the translated texts at the end of each volume. It was published in an edition of 2000 copies. An additional 120 copies, numbered and signed, were printed on Arches paper. The illustrations were both in black and white and colour. The editors of the magazine were curator Didier Ottinger, painter Pierre Antoniucci, and writer, publicist and critic Roger Salloch, whereas the artistic director was the Paris-resident Japanese painter Aki Kuroda, who also produced eight of the magazine’s covers. The authors of the other covers were David Diao, Sam Francis, Walter Dahn, David Tremlett, Jochen Gerz, Hélène Delprat and Sean Scully. Here we should also mention some of the other artists that published work in NOISE magazine: Karel Appel, Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, André Derain, Jean Genet, Gilbert&George, Stéphan Mallarmé among others.
François Morellet: La Chute des Angles #2 (Fallen Angles #2)
Collection of Art Publications, inv. no. 1224
After describing his love for the right angle in a short introduction in French, the artist explains how he created the images that follow. He laid a series of 155 right angles out of white paper on a piece of black paper at 33 degrees. The gradual erasure of the black background with the unmanageable collection of organised shapes is actually what the book is all about.
The book was published by the Onestar Press publishing house in Paris in 2002. It is unpaginated, in black and white, written in French. Published in an edition of 250 copies.
François Morellet was a conceptual French painter, sculptor and light artist, known for his intricate geometric shapes and patterns. He was interested in line, light and movement. He also combined all this in his artist’s books in his own unique way.
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster: Park-plan d'évasion
Collection of Art Publications, inv. no. 1290
The book is packed with photographs of parks and collective public spaces intended for relaxation or recreation taken from all over the world. Grass areas, mowed swirly shapes, public markets with festival lighting, coastal cafés all offer the possibility of retreat and escape, and show the artist's wish to combine physical and sensual reality with the immediacy and emotional charge of the image.
The artist's book was published in 2002 as a project for Documenta 11 by the Imschoot, uitgevers publisher from Gent in English and French in a limited edition of 1030 copies. Of these, 30 copies are signed and numbered.
Gonzales-Foerster is a French artist known for her work in video, photography, space installations and artists’ books. She has also worked in the field of design, writing and landscape design. Her projects could be seen in Ljubljana at the Biennial in 2003 and 2007.