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.