From Re-publication

So many ideas get lost on the shelf.


Codex Australia’s Meet the maker: Denise Campbell, 2012

Codex Australia operated from 2011 to 2014. On its website was a series of interviews with fine book makers. Pretext has been allowed to reproduce these interviews.

Denise Campbell
Painter and Printmaker

Interviewed by Alan Loney, August 2012


Codex: Denise Campbell, I have known of your work making books for only a short time – a few weeks ago, Ian Morrison in Hobart emailed alerting me to your books, and now I have the privilege of having one of then, SEA, in front of me. In our subsequent correspondence, you describe yourself as primarily a painter who also makes books. This is not uncommon, and artists come to the making of books in a variety of ways. What was your way? How did you arrive at the notion that a book, a collection of surfaces unlike a painting or a print, was what you wished to make? Read more

Christine Dixon, To Make a Book… 1992

Catalogue title:  Raft Press: The Book Project, 1992
Essay title: To Make a Book…
Author: Christine Dixon, Curator, International Illustrated Books, NGA
Date: 1992
Publication: Raft Press, Canberra, ACT
All rights reserved by the author.

To make a book takes paper, ink, and covers. ‘Paper’ may mean rough handmade or silky Japanese paper, sheets of Perspex or plaster-of-Paris. Ink is usually black printing ink, Although coloured inks might be used. Covers, to protect the book and make it portable, range from wooden or cardboard boxes to rolled fabric, from paper folders to vellum or leather. To make a book in 1992 forces the artist to consider the form of a commonplace object, to look again at this symbol of learning, of leisure, of culture. The artist can choose to experiment, playing with the idea of a book, or to celebrate the achievements of thousands of years.

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Alex Selenitsch, Across the Imagination, 1991

Catalogue Title: Exhibition of Books and Boats
Artists: Jay Arthur, Alexander Hamilton, Petr Herel, Paul Uhlmann.
Essay Title: Across the Imagination
Author: Alex Selenitsch
Date: June 1991.
Venue/Publication: State Library of Victoria, 13 July – 25 August 1991
All rights reserved by the author.

The modern book is as elusive as air: all around us but invisible and considered as itself only when it blows too strongly. When we read a modern book we have to ignore it so as to grasp the ideas carried by the words. Yet when we are confronted by books made of bamboo slats or folds of rice paper, with indecipherable patterns on them, our awareness of their physicality is heightened and this gives us pleasure. Is it because we don’t understand the ‘writing’ on them? If so, why do we need to separate the ‘writing’ from the ‘book’? Why can’t we have both? Read more

Dianne Fogwell: Why the Artists’ Book? / The Gene Pool 2000

Catalogue title: Love Letter to Gutenberg: International Students’ Competition for the Gutenberg Year 2000
Catalogue Essay Titles: Why the Artist’s Book? and The Gene Pool
Author: Dianne Fogwell
Publication details: Germany, Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg, 2000
© all rights reserved by the author

The artist’s book is a place where consciously or unconsciously, moments and metaphors are frozen in architecture. A space where artists from different disciplines can be in dialogue, developing a new rapport with image and text. Read more

Les Petersen: The River Styx (Sticks), 1994

Catalogue Title: The River Styx (Sticks)
Catalogue Essay: Prelude to a Journey (Director’s Report)
Author: Les Petersen
Date: 1994
Publication details: Canberra, ACT, Raft Press Inc
© all rights reserved by the author

The artists on the River Styx (sticks) project were asked to work on a theme; to create a book using one of the possible interpretations of ‘The River Styx (sticks)’, and to consider the use of modern equipment and materials to produce the work. The brief was simple: the theme allowed for a wide range of artistic flavour and emotional response; the materials and equipment were available and easily used, and most of the artists had dealt with the idea of the Artist’s Book before. The Books created by them for this project should be experienced by what one knows and also by what one suspects. Read more

Thierry Bouchard: Consonance (a postface), 1994

Catalogue title: Fragile Objects: Graphic Investigation Workshop, Catalogue Raisonne, volume 2.
Catalogue Essay Title: Consonance (a postface)
Author: Thierry Bouchard; translated from the French by James Grieve
Date: 1994
Publication details: Canberra, ACT: Canberra School of Art Graphic Investigations Workshop
© all rights reserved by the author’s estate

With books of a certain type, a particular view of publishing them, the spiritual conception and material fabrication of them, going back to the late nineteenth century and prevailing with remarkable continuity to this day, there is bound to be a problem of terminology, reminiscent of the battles fought over taxonomy in the natural sciences (zoology and botany) at the same period. Read more

Petr Herel: Where the Language Stops, 1992

Catalogue title: Artists’ Books and Limited Editions: Graphic Investigation Workshop, Catalogue Raisonne, volume 1
Catalogue Essay Title: ‘Where the Language Stops’
Author: Petr Herel
Date: 1992
Publication details: Canberra, ACT: Canberra School of Art Graphic Investigations Workshop
© all rights reserved by the author.

All earthly existence must ultimately be contained in a book — Stephan Mallarmé

The dream of a book as opus magnus was reborn with the Symbolists late in the last century. Since then artists have dreamed about the book as a tactile metaphor for the intrinsic self. Read more