These books are works of art

Libraries are home to some fascinating and unusual collections – one of these being the array of artist made books held by the Fine Art Library.

Over the past few months Riona Campbell, a postgraduate student at the University of Edinburgh, has been working with the collection and has put together an exhibition of some of the finest examples of these fascinating pieces of work. Riona told us a bit more about the books:

artist book“Typically produced in small numbers or editions, artist books are distributed through independent publishing houses or by the artists themselves.  Artist books offer immense versatility and options for artists to explore fresh themes or retell familiar stories with a new perspective.  By utilising the book form, artists can play with how the book is bound, the folds of the pages, and even the materials, such as the types of paper or fabric used.

Accordion fold bindings are often employed in artist books since the pages are all connected in an uninterrupted visual plane and expand out of the book’s covers.  Unlike commercial volumes, artist books are not confined to a specific page layout, typography, or size.  As a result, many artist books make full use of space on the page, filling it with illustrations, colour, or words.  These volumes also exist in a huge range of sizes, from oversized to miniscule works that fit in the palm of your hand.

The books address a huge range of topics in a variety of methods. Artists tend to utilise printmaking techniques, such as screen printing or etching, to produce their illustrations.”

The exhibition is only display in the mezzanine level of Central Library until the end of June. To find out more about our collection of artist books contact the Fine Art Library.


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