OPEN BOOKS: Exhibition is a Publication

Charlotte Cheetham (of Manystuff fame) and Sophie Demay (who worked on Department 21) have produced an exhibition so clever that it makes me cry with glee. Open Books is a book and an exhibition that is taking place at the Royal College of Art, Hockney Gallery, London. It is described alternately as “A book about books about exhibitions about books that results in endless repetition” and “A selection of books displayed in ‘Perpetual Proposal’, a space and classification system by Fay Nicolson & Oliver Smith“.

To break it down for you, Charloette & Sophie curated a library of publications by dozens of artists and designers whose work defined the parameters of a particular avant-garde. They then invited  Fay and Oliver to act as librarians, designing a space and a compelling information system. And then the usage and participation of the audience will determine the content of the publication documenting the exhibition. Whew.. that is one ellipse equation… just when you thought relational aesthetics had jumped the shark, these folks are offering a totally interesting proposal. 

The Librarians describe their role, perhaps better than I could:

Perpetual Proposal is a system to initiate and record the flow of books within an exhibition as reading room. The Books (selected by Sophie Demay and Charlotte Cheetham) all deal with the form and content of the book as a subject. Being interested in mathematician and librarian S.R. Raganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science*, Fay and Oliver encourage visitors to the exhibition to select books from the peg board display and browse through them at their leisure. Investigating the idea of a reader as both a consumer and (re)producer of knowledge Fay and Oliver ask visitors to select a page using a book mark for our librarian to copy. The rationale behind page selection is left in hands of each reader.
Throughout his/her shift the librarian will copy and index selected pages, binding them into a compendium that will enter the selection of exhibited books each day. These new additions both document the use of, and add to, the collection of exhibited books.

To learn more about this exciting project follow the post after the jump.

A short list of the library of publications created for the event:

Benzanoe Magazine, Issue 64, Benzanoe , 2010
BEST BOOk 2008 (Readers Digest), Werkplaats Typografie 2009
BEST BOOkS 2009 Mapping the Library, Werkplaats Typografie, 2010
Bookcase, Sarah Poletti, 2010
Chinese whispers, Jamie Reid, 2009
Claude Closky 8002— 9891, MAC/VAL, 2008
CNEAI = NEUF ANS, cneai= & Editions Hyx 2006
CONSTRUCT DECONSTRUCT, Ghazaal Vojdani & Jenny Hirons, 2010
Dear Reader, Atelier Carvalho Bernau, 2010
Designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio, Fraser Muggeridge studio, 2010
de Verenigde Sandbergen, Sandberg Institute, 2009-2010
DOUBLE PAGE, Éditions B42, 2010
Exhibiting Poetry Today, Cneai= & Xavier Barral, 2009
Fernand Baudin Prijs 2009 catalogue, Fernand Baudin Prijs, 2009
FOUNT, Adam Chelstov, Jackson Lam, Patrick Lacey (Åbäke) & Jérôme Rigaud (electronest), 2010
Graphic #10, Propaganda Press, 2009
I swear I use no art at all, 010 Publishers, 2010
Liner notes conversations about making books, i.e. Leipzig, Spector Books, 2009
Livro de meio, Marco Balesteros & Sofia Gonçalves, 2010
Multitudes, Hors-série n°1 Transmission, Cneai=/Villa Arson, 2007
Objects, Paul Bailey, 2008
Old News #2, cneai= & Dunkers Kulturhus, 2006
On the self reflexive page, Roma Publications, 2010
Os livros fazem amigos/Books mame friends, Roma Publications, 2006
Out of print – An archive as artistic concept, Cneai= & Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen, 2001
Recollected Work, Artimo, 2005
The best dutch book design 2008, Stichting the Best Verzorgde Boeken, 2008
The best dutch book design 2009, Stichting the Best Verzorgde Boeken, 2009
The book and other books, Werkplaats Typografie, 2007
The Form of the Book Book, Occasional Papers, 2010
The most beautiful swiss books catalogues 2004-2099, Swiss Federal Office of Culture, 2005-2010
Thereherethenthere, MAC/VAL & Parc Saint Léger, 2010
Title of the show, Jovis Verlag Gmbh, 2009
Ultramoderne Reader, it : editions, 2007
User’s Manual: The Grand Domestic Revolution, Mafalda Dâmaso, Casco Office for Art, Design & Theory, 2010
Scratching on Things I Could Disavow, Walther Konig, 2008
W.D.A.O.V.T.O.P.N.N.M.T.B.V., Cneai=, 2008
Who is Alice, Sarah Poletti, 2009

Many of the designers were invited to speak at events during the exhibit. See the exhibit tumbler for more details.

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5 Responses to “OPEN BOOKS: Exhibition is a Publication”

  1. Anila khokhar says:

    i am anila from pakistan.i did MFA in 2009 and my majors was printmaking i know different techcinques e.g.lino cut,wood cut,mono print,dry point,eatching etc..i want to do printmaking residency kindly let me know am i eligible for that and what is the procedure for apply..waiting for your reply

  2. Anila khokhar says:

    i want to do printmaking residency..kindly let me know the procedure of it..and i did masters in finearts and printmaking was my majors…..

  3. Amze says:

    Hi Anila, There may be some confusion, Printeresting does not administer any residencies. Here’s a link to the Frans Masereel Centre, they run a pretty amazing print residency,

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