In the middle of last month I dropped into Bloomberg SPACE to see an exhibition by book artist Arnaud Dejardin. The show, which runs from 14 July until 18 September 2011, is number 38 in Bloomberg SPACE’s COMMA series where artists are commissioned to ‘experiment and expand their practice’ in relation to the space.
Dejardin’s exhibition displays a vast collection of books about artists books, what artists books expert Clive Phillpot calls ‘a three-dimensional bibliography’. Many are rare publications and displayed safely behind glass. Others are laid out for visitors to sit down and dumb through. If you are lucky Dejardin might be around to tell you about his passion for artists books - he’s not only an artists and a book maker, he is a publisher and book seller too.
Like many other visitors in the early days and weeks of the show, I signed up for a copy of Dejardin’s own publication The Book on Books on Artists’ Books which he undertook to print and bind in the gallery space itself and published by The Everyday Press So, this week I returned to collect my copy. It’s really a bibliography of books, pamphlets and catalogues on artists’ books and a veritable mine of information.
I’m not sure yet what the place of book arts might be in the ‘Art School Educated’ project. Chelsea College of Art and Design have a particularly special collection of artists books. Camberwell College of Arts boasts an MA Book Arts. That course at Camberwell came out of painter and book artist Eileen Hogan’s earlier initiation of The Camberwell Press. These things are a matter of fact and part of the histories of those art schools. Whether they have a broader significance in the development of art education in those schools is something I hope Dejardin’s book might help me think through.