What Is an Artist Book?

14 Aug 2014 - 8 Jan 2015
Palacete del Embarcadero, Santander
Curated by:
Giorgio Maffei

A collection of artist books is the narration of the desires, intelligence and intuitions of their author. An exhibition on artist’s books takes all these elements to its meeting with the public, bringing into play the intellectual and visual capabilities, taste, knowledge, curiosity and emotions of the visitor. The title of this display, What is an Artist Book? is, at the same time, the question which has given rise to the selection of materials and a confession of our inability to offer an answer. It therefore falls upon visitors to come up with their own response, based on what they experience as they view the exhibits.

The exhibition begins in the early 20th century and expands into the contemporary era, grouping together published works from highly diverse fields of poetry and art. The central core consists in books of the historical avant-gardes that projected their forms and themes towards the works of the second post-war period and whose influence continues to this day. Four thematic lines extend from this core, categorizing the chosen books: “Form, sign, color”, “Concept, theory, archive”, “Word, writing, narration”, and “Vision, participation, utopia”.

Artists: Carl Andre, John Baldessari, Alighiero Boetti, Augusto de Campos, Alberto Carneiro, Ulises Carrión, José Castillejo, Hanne Darvoben, Sonia Delaunay, Robert Delaunay, Wlademir Dias Pino, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Natalia Goncharova, George Grosz, Vasily Kandinsky, El Lissitzky, Stéphane Mallarmé, Fernando Millán, Antoni Miralda, Bruno Munari, Clemente Padín, Francisco Pino, Dieter Roth, Edward Ruscha, Daniel Spoerri and Valcárcel Medina, among others.