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Moritz Küng: Selección Natural – This is the Cover of the Book

A dialogue among artists’ book


The exhibition Selección Natural – This is the Cover of the Book presents sixty-six books published by artists, photographers, academics and curators, all of them involved in artists’ book publishing. The selection of books, all released in the past five decades, doesn’t want to give an historical overview on the contemporary art production in this field, but rather to highlight a tautological, self-referential and witty game of visual, conceptual and content based correspondences.

The title quotes two books that could be considered as parenthesis or strategic references. The seminal work Book by American Fluxus artist George Brecht, made in 1964 and published in 1972 in an edition of only 50 copies, reduces the object and content of the printed matter to its bare essence. While the clothbound cover states in embossed uppercase This is the Cover of the Book, the interior contains eighteen sober descriptions on 28 pages that explain the nature of each single page.

[verso front cover – p. 1]
These are the end papers of the book 

[p. 3]
This is the page before the title page of the book that tells you what the title is or was, or is going to be

[p. 5]
This is the title page

In contrast to this self-referential work, the publication by Peruvian Sandra Gamarra, Selección Natural (2009), embodies a critical appropriation. The artist cloned the 640 pages long anthology Art Now. 137 Artists at the Rise of the New Millenium in her painterly style and reduced its content to only 28 pages – the number of represented women artists. Here, the book becomes a socio-cultural and political manifest that questions gender inequality and the rules of the art market.

All books in this exhibition are presented in pairs and displayed in custom made frames to highlight their status as works of art. The numerous combinations suggest different analogies in visual communication and conceptual approaches, to the point where the book reaches a meta-state. Even though this way of presenting may at first seem restricting, limiting and introspective, it opens up a wide and diverse panorama in the realm of self-representation, appropriation, imitation and repetition. The book(s) on these covers as well as the combined book covers become alter egos – agents, so to speak – that promote themselves and their very existence as artists’ books.

Exhibition produced by CCL–Blanquerna (Madrid) in collaboration with Arts Santa Mònica (Barcelona), presented in Ghent in collaboration with Bepart, Platform For Contemporary Art (Waregem), GABF–Ghent Art Book Fair & Riot (Ghent)

This expo is part of 019’s Museum of Moving Practice

Fig 1 Brecht Cover 1024X922
Fig 19 Zobernig Ryslavy 1024X683
Fig 23 Baumann Albers 1024X683
Fig 33 Grosenick Gamarra 1024X683