The Book Lovers

The Book Lovers is a long-term project on artist novels (2012-2013). Research, organization and curatorial project by David Maroto (Spanish visual artist based in the Netherlands) and Joanna Zielińska (head curator at Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor – Cricoteka, in Kraków). Participating institutions: M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, Belgium;  EFA Project Space, NYC; Cricoteka in Kraków, Poland; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland.

The Book Lovers is a systematic attempt to study the phenomenon of artist novels. There are some examples of artist novels in the 20th century, but it is in the last ten or fifteen years that an increasing number of artists are choosing the novel as an artistic medium. Surprisingly, there is a lack of research on this subject. This circumstance gives way to a situation in which artists who write novels are not aware of others doing the same. With The Book Lovers we are intending to create public awareness on this silently widespread artistic trend. There are a number of questions that this project wants to pose: Has literature become a new tool for creating expanded narrations in visual arts? Is it justified to talk about a new phenomenon in contemporary art? What are the consequences for the production process when adopting a purely textual form, moreover a narrative? What link remains to visual arts? Is it possible to find a relation to conceptual art, relational aesthetics, or is this an entirely different artistic form? Collective writing, fictional artist/authors, ghost writers…what are the issues raised in relation to authorship and re-skilling of art practice?


The project The Book Lovers is divided in three parts: a collection of artist novels with a parallel online database; an exhibition; and a symposium. The first part, the collection, includes, among others, novels written by: Carl Andre, Keren Cytter, Salvador Dalí, Tim Etchells, Liam Gillick, Goldin+Senneby, Pablo Helguera, Stewart Home, Joseph Kosuth, Yayoi Kusama, Jana Leo, Jill Magid, Mai-Thu Perret, Tom McCarthy, Richard Prince, Roee Rosen, Lindsay Seers, Alexandre Singh, Andy Warhol… to a total of around 125 titles. This collection is the result of a research carried out by David Maroto and Joanna Zielinska, and it is being acquired by M HKA, to be part of the museum’s collection.

The second part of the project, the exhibition, is taking place in EFA Project Space and, afterwards, in De Appel, Amsterdam. The exhibition will display, on the one hand, the complete artist novels collection (borrowed from M HKA for the occasion), which will be available for public’s perusal in a special reading room. On the other hand, a selection of artists will show their works made in relation to their novels. There are artists who simply write novels, as an activity aside their art practice. But there are others, in increasing numbers in recent years, who make use of novels as a legitimate art form in its own right, as video or performance could be. The exhibition will unfold the different creative strategies that visual artists employ when they integrate narrative literature in their own art projects. These are multidisciplinary and extremely varied: video installation, drawing, sculpture, photography, painting, performance…  In addition to the reading room and the group exhibition, there will be a public program with performances, video screenings and other public events that complement and complete the mapping of artistic strategies chosen by artists in relation to their own novels.

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The Book Lovers

Public presentation of the artist novels collection and the ensemble (online database), at M HKA

In conversation with Seth Siegelaub

Curated by David Maroto and Joanna Zielinska

6th December 2012

There are some examples of artist novels in the 20th century, but it is in the last ten or fifteen years that an increasing number of artists are choosing the novel as an artistic medium. With The Book Lovers we are intending to create public awareness on this silently widespread artistic trend. The collection of artist novels includes a total of 125 titles that is being acquired by M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, Belgium. The collection is complemented by a parallel online database, also hosted by M HKA. Some artists present in the collection are: Carl Andre, Sophie Calle, Salvador Dalí, Tim Etchells, Mattias Faldbakken, Liam Gillick, Pablo Helguera, Stewart Home, Joseph Kosuth, Yayoi Kusama, Jana Leo, Rita McBride, Tom McCarthy, Richard Prince, Andy Warhol… among many others.


M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp

Leuvenstraat 32,
2000 Antwerp, Belgium

www.muhka.be

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The Book Lovers

Exhibition at Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space (NYC)

Curated by David Maroto and Joanna Zielinska

25th January – 9th March 2013

This exhibition will display, on the one hand, the complete artist novels collection gathered by the curators throughout a long-term research. This collection has been acquired by M HKA and will be on loan from that museum for the occasion. The novels will be available for public’s perusal in a special reading room. On the other hand, a selection of artists will show their works made in relation to their novels. There are artists who simply write novels, as an activity aside their art practice. But there are others, in increasing numbers in recent years, who make use of novels as a legitimate art form in its own right, as video or performance could be. The exhibition will unfold the different creative strategies that visual artists employ when they integrate narrative literature in their own art projects. These are multidisciplinary and extremely varied: video installation, drawing, sculpture, photography, painting, performance… In addition to the reading room and the group exhibition, there will be a public program with performances, video screenings and other public events that complement and complete the mapping of artistic strategies chosen by artists in relation to their own novels.

EFA Project Space is located on the 2nd Floor of 323 West 39th Street, between 8th and 9th avenues. Manhattan, New York City.

www.efanyc.org

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