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Preferowany język: English polski
Andrzej Marian Bartczak
Thirty years of my artist's books
Text from the catalogue of the 8th International Book Art Festival "TIME" 2006-2008.

Thirty years of my artist's books

I began to make books in the mid 1970s. I don't remember if there was anybody else in Łódź who would dare to take up such risky work. Years later they have been considered artist's books. Let it be so.

In my home library I keep the book made in 1975 and titled “Creatively Supporting the World”, relief printing, offset, 30,3x23,8x5cm, 89 sheets. It seems the oldest book preserved. I based its structure on the relief print of the same title made in 1972.

The passage of more than 30 years of constant and ceaseless book making gave to me (to “a doyen of this branch” as Piotr Rypson, an expert at book art kindly stated in one of his texts) an opportunity to see the widening space of this domain, also among my students, graduates and artists' friends.

My books have very different measures (from miniature up to giant ones), sizes (from a few single sheets or even one porcelain tablet with my text curved in kaolin up to a set of several hundred pages), content (from manual drawings of various kinds, graphic prints, monotypes, paintings, ready printed matters, not only paper collages, up to three-dimensional, space objects), physical forms (from loose sheets in folio and “seamed” codices, up to installation-like space arrangements), narratives (from quotations from many Polish and foreign poets, also prose, up to my own poems that have been dominating in recent years, calendars, visual diaries, etc.).

Since I was a student I have had a tendency to make long series of variant works; my interest in literature has always been vivid and vast and I learned at home to respect books utmostly. Years have passed but I am as zealous as in the beginning. I think these are the most important roots of my “book” activity which has been constantly transformed.

A book, being a textual-and-visual structure which I treat as a useful medium, can contain the most abundant and to some extent eclectic art space. Its handwritten and manual character does not trouble me at all, even facing the phenomenon of digitalisation. As for the dispute over the definition of a book I am with no doubt in the camp of those who consider various iconographic images, as well as objects and things, “readable matter” similar to a normative text. As a matter of fact, I made also fine pressed books that conveyed both text and graphic prints content.

I invite you to visit my library, my “book panopticon”.

The Key Question
(while chopping wood in K.) 

What should I do with an old plank
worn-out yet beautiful
Chop it for the stove
It would take just five minutes
Leave it for a unique book
In memoriam Joseph Cornell
Would it last longer?

                August 15, 1999

leaving blank 

leaving the last page blank
would be like breaking mid-word
a phrase already compose

would be like diving into deep water
knowing no opposite shore

               Osieki, August 26/27, 2005

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