COLLABORATION & THE ARTIST'BOOK:
a transatlantic perspective
From Horace’s celebrated formula, “ut pictura poesis” to the most recent forms of text-image interactions on the internet, the letters and the arts have interacted throughout time, drawing inspiration from each other. The artist’s book is one of the many forms of materialization of the dialogue among the arts. In fact, since the beginning of the 20th century, the artist’s book probably represents the one form of literary/artistic interaction that has prompted the most numerous debates concerning both its status as artwork and its place within the contemporary art world.
This symposium aims above all to point out the key role of literary/artistic interactions - and of their most direct material expression, the “artist’s book” - in the metamorphoses of 20th- and 21st-century literature and art. Our exploration of the nature and variety of forms of artist’s books will be placed in the particular context of the collaborative activity that is at the core of the work of many artists and writers of the period under consideration. The artist’s book raises other salient questions concerning the current status of the book culture. Such topics as the publishing conditions of artists’ books today, as well as their electronic distribution, their display in galleries and museums, and their presence in libraries will all be discussed by the artists, writers, and scholars participating in the symposium.
The collaborative activity and the tradition of the artist’s book will be approached in relation to two specific contexts: that of exchanges between Europe and the United States and of creative activities since the early 1950s, which have contributed – and still contribute – to establishing bridges among apparently different arts and cultures. The very format of the contributions will highlight the collaborative and interdisciplinary aspects of literary and artistic interactions: scholars, publishers, curators, artists and writers will have the opportunity to enrich the dialogue and make this symposium an occasion for a creative cross-disciplinary and transatlantic exchange. Poetry readings and projections of artwork for collaborative projects will be presented at the Maison de la Poésie in Paris following the workshops at the University of Caen, Normandy.