The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) presents an exhibition of Artists’ Books published since the 1960s in Germany.
This exhibition, which is now touring the world, focuses on the printed and published books of artists, publishing houses, galleries or institutions, which distinguish themselves from ‘beautiful’ books or book-objects by virtue of the fact that they are made to be seen simply as ‘normal’ books.
The exhibition includes 651 works from 239 artists, who have created books which they regard as an independent medium and which have served to extend, supplement or redefine their thinking and practice. The works presented here exemplify an important branch of art history that has established an alternative to the cultural domination of the museum. The book disseminates art in an enormously different way to that of the museum - its affordability, ease of duplication, distribution and acquisition are different to the experience of the museum where the presentation of the art object is characterised by its incorporation into a legitimised canon of art history by ‘experts’, by its heroisation as a unique object and for these very reasons its unavailability to the lay man to be touched and held.
The exhibition has been subdivided into ten chapters in order to help the visitor to get an overview of the genre. The first chapters are arranged thematically; Fluxus and Happening, Research and Collectors, Authors and Theorists, Painters and Drawers, Documentors and Xerox Artists. The following chapters profile five publishing houses; Edition Hansjörg Mayer, Edition Hundertmark, Rainer Verlag, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter König, and Wiens Verlag.
→ Pages of art, New Zealand Herald, 04-09-1997
→ Artists Books, 1997, exhibition card