Danish artists’ books – the exhibition
(Overgaden, Copenhagen, 2013)

Curatorial statement

"An artist’s book is a work of art in a book format. A book as art in contrast to traditional artist’s monographs, which are representations of art. Artists’ books have been published in Denmark since the 1950s, but the concept of kunstnerbøger – the Danish version of the established English term artists’ books – has never won widespread recognition. All the things that are the main strengths of the artist’s book – the fact that it acts as a kind of “mobile exhibition”, that it is inexpensive to produce and easy to distribute like any other book – are also the traits that makes it difficult for artists’ books to be recognised as art: They look like ordinary books at first glance. Artists’ books are difficult to exhibit, and they also do not attract interest from galleries and museums from a purely financial perspective. Nevertheless, artists’ books are an art form on a par with paintings, sculptures, happenings, etc.

Our work on curating the exhibition "Art + Text" at Overgaden in Copenhagen in 2011, which included, in addition to separate exhibitions of artists’ books and book objects, an Art Publication Fair (Messen for Kunstpublikationer), prompted us to delve more deeply into the Danish stock of artists’ books in order to be able to present a comprehensive book on the phenomenon. A phenomenon which has its own established tradition and is also part of the work done by a range of younger artists today. The digitalisation of writing and visuals has not impeded the desire to experiment with the old medium of books; a medium whose tactile qualities cannot be found at the various digital and networked media platforms.

The exhibition "Danish artists’ books – the exhibition" is not a one-to-one representation of the book scheduled for publication this autumn; rather, it will unfold some of the aspects addressed in the book: It will present works by a range of selected artists for whom artists’ books constitute a separate and important element of their overall oeuvre, but it will also include contemporary examples of what artists’ books can be. At the end of the exhibition run, as a kind of finissage, a seminar will be held at Overgaden on Saturday 25 May. Here, contributors to the book will discuss aspects of this distinctive and peculiar art form."

Thomas Hvid Kromann, Louise Hold Sidenius & Maria Kjær Themsen

The Exhibition
Danish Artists' Books: The Exhibition

artists
Albert Mertz: artists' books

artists
Mogens Otto Nielsen: artists' books

artists
Christian Vind: artists' books

artists
Jens Birkemose: artists' books

artists
Goodiepal & Keld Helmer-Petersen: artists' books

artists
Tal R: artists' books

artists
Sven Dalsgaard: artists' books

artists
Henrik Have: artists' books