A large exhibition at The Black Diamond shows a Danish overview of the growing genre of artists’ books for the first time.
Through a series of cross-sections the exhibition OPSLAG NEDSLAG shows works from six decades – books by great artists as Asger Jorn, Per Kirkeby, Sven Dalsgaard and Tal R, as well as a quantity of entirely new works by Amalie Smith and Lea Porsager among others.
An artists’ book is not a book about art, but rather a book as art. The art book is a creation in itself and can at the same time function as a presentation series that illustrate expressions such as photos, drawings, graphics and texts.
Artists’ books since the 1950’s
In these years there is a renewed interest in artists’ books. OPSLAG NEDSLAG shows six cross-sections in the history and stylistic world of the art book, as these in Denmark have evolved since the end of the 1950’s and until this very day. The aim is on the thematically and materialistic span through rebate, which has its focus on the media, the genesis, the stylistic directions in the genre and the historical context. The themes in the exhibition will be put into context through eight main artists, whose art books in different ways will be enlightened by spatial installations and supplied artworks.
Exhibited works and artists:
The mass produced art book has since the 1950’s been a well suited way, in which the artists can distribute their art, while avoiding galleries, museums and other institutional limitations. From a materialistic point of view the books have a wide span: From Sven Dalgaard’s small pamphlets distributed by mail to Martin Larsen’s work in eight volumes in 6.000 pages; from standard books to creations, which in different ways experiment with covers of sand paper or as Per Kirkeby’s beautiful work ‘blue, time’ is completely blue!
From material to book
On this exhibition you have the opportunity to see the pioneer work Fin de Copenhague ("Copenhagen’s final"), which Asger Jorn and the French Guy Debord published in 1957. Jorn and Debord’s colored montage work has a cover of the so called matrix board (a residue of the news paper production), which has its own particular, textural fabric. As a result of the matrix board each of the 200 copies in this posting all have a unique cover.
For the first time since the book was printed in May 1957, several of the copies are present in the same room, as six copies are exhibited on OPSLAG NEDSLAG. Besides that the exhibition has its focus on the process from material to book, as you will see never before exhibited materials from private archives belonging to Tal R, Bjørn Nørgaard, Jesper Fabricius, Lene Adler Petersen and Asger Jorn among others. A fifth of the creations will be exhibited in a way that allows the guests to scroll through them.
The largest collection
It is certainly a lifelike and current praxis that is exhibited at The Royal Library which, after the merger with Danish National Art Library in 2017, will be in position of Denmark’s sovereign largest collection of artists’ books.
The exhibition has been curated by Thomas Hvid Kromann, ph.d and researcher at the Handwriting Collection. Kromann is specialized in art books and co-editor on the standard work Danish artists’ books (2013).