What is an artist’s book?

What is an artist’s book?

Since the explosion of the artist’s book movement, in the 1960′s there has been much debate about the exact meaning of this term, or even what the term should be (artists’ books, book art …)

There is, however, a general consensus that artist’s books are works of art conceived by an individual artist which use the form of the book as a medium to convey their ideas, a unique and still relatively unpublicised art form. Rather than being books about art they are books which are intended as artworks in themselves.

My own attraction to the form of the book has been with me since childhood and developed as I discovered the world of the French Livre d’artiste and Medieval manuscripts. As a printmaker working in multiples, there was a natural progression from making a single image to making work in a series, linking words to images and from there to find different ways of presenting the series – in folios or in some kind of bound format; along the way I began to question the form of the book itself, with various maquettes – where does a book begin? At the beginning? In the middle or at the end? When I learned Hebrew at University, I became used to reading books seemingly “the wrong way”. For me, the book is, and always will be an inexhaustible metaphor: open, closed, ordinary, sumptuous, the pages turning….

My artists books can be found in a number of national art library collections, including The Tate Gallery, The National Poetry Library, Winchester College of Art and Chelsea College of Art.

For more discussion of artist books there are numerous websites of museums, makers and critics. I recommend:

V & A Museum, London