Long-awaited overview of Swiss artists’ books to be published
Bern, 31.05.2022 - Artists’ publications have gained importance both in Switzerland and internationally in recent decades. However, what until now has been lacking is a critical overview of Swiss artists’ books. The Swiss National Library is closing this gap with the release of "Schweizer Künstlerbücher – Livres d’artistes suisses – Libri d’artista svizzeri – Swiss artists’ books", which is being published by Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König in June. The publication traces the development and significance of the phenomenon in Switzerland based on the Swiss National Library’s collection of artists’ books.
Artists’ publications have experienced something of a boom in Switzerland and internationally over the last 20 years, with young artists re-discovering the printed medium as an opportunity for artistic expression. Until now, however, there has been no critical overview of Swiss artists’ books. The publication Schweizer Künstlerbücher – Livres d’artistes suisses – Libri d’artista svizzeri – Swiss artists’ books, which is being released by the Swiss National Library in association with Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König in June, is set to close that gap.
A unique and encyclopaedic compendium of artists’ books
There is probably no other object in art that has so many diverse and vague definitions as the artist’s book. Little known to art lovers and somewhat enigmatic as an object, the artist’s book has become a sort of icon and cult object in art and library history. The book per se is one of the most functional and liberal – and one of the most inexpensive – information media on cultural history. But what role does the artist’s book play?
Based on one of the most extensive collections of artists’ books in Switzerland – that of the Swiss National Library – editor and author Susanne Bieri explores the Swiss artist’s book in an international context, through 112 interviews with 450 questions, but far more than 450 answers, because the questions sparked over 650 annotations, associations and anecdotes. This question-and-answer structure – with unique personal opinions from renowned international experts and prestigious publishers of artists’ books – deals with 1,500 titles, covering the development and significance of the phenomenon in Switzerland and in a period spanning from cave paintings dating back over 30,0000 years to early medieval illuminated manuscripts and ephemera to the current fanzine. Schweizer Künstlerbücher – Livres d’artistes suisses – Libri d’artista svizzeri – Swiss artists’ books is therefore a unique and encyclopaedic compendium of Swiss artists’ books.
Book launch at the I Never Read, Art Book Fair Basel
The publication will be presented to the public as part of an expert discussion at I Never Read, Art Book Fair Basel at the Kaserne Basel on 17 June.
Schweizer Künstlerbücher – Livres d’artistes suisses – Libri d’artista svizzeri – Swiss artists’ books, edited by Susanne Bieri, Swiss National Library, Bern, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König, Cologne, 2022, 408 pages, ISBN 978-3-7533-0212-6, CHF 46 / EUR 45
A discussion on the topic of ‘What sets Swiss artists’ books apart?’ is being held at the Kaserne Basel at 5pm on 17 June as part of I Never Read, Art Book Fair Basel with Eveline Wüthrich, curator and founder of I Never Read Art Book Fair Basel, and Susanne Bieri from the Swiss National Library.
Over the summer, talks, panel discussions and presentations on the publication Schweizer Künstlerbücher – Livres d’artistes suisses – Libri d’artista svizzeri – Swiss artists’ books will be held at the following venues
- Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur, 24.6.2022, 6pm
- VOLUMES / Helmhaus / Kunsthalle Zurich, 25.6.2022
- Kunstbibliothek Sitterwerk, St. Gallen, 26.6.2022
- Kunsthalle Bern, 5.7.2022, 6.30pm
- m.a.x. museo / Spazio Officina, Centro Culturale Chiasso, 7.7.2022, 6pm
- Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt, 3.8.2022, 6.30pm
- MAMCO, Geneva, 25.8.2022
- GAM – Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin.
More information will follow soon on www.nb.admin.ch and on the websites of the institutions in question.
The Swiss National Library
The Swiss National Library collects “Helvetica” – Swiss texts, images and sounds – and with its collections safeguards the collective memory of Switzerland. In collaboration with other institutions, it facilitates extensive access to the cultural heritage of the country. As a central memory institution, the National Library bridges the past via the present to the future. In so doing, it reflects both the diversity and multilingualism of the country, promoting community and innovation.
Address for enquiries
Dr Susanne Bieri, research associate, Swiss National Library
Tel. +41 58 462 89 59, firstname.lastname@example.org
Swiss National Library
Last modification 26.03.2019