Like books? Eyes knackered after a long week spent in front of the computer screen? Looking for a way to spend your money, Ms. City-lawyer-with-an-absurdly-high-starting-salary? Or to save your money, Mr. Devotee-of-London-on-the-Cheap? Wish we’d stop quizzing you? Then delve into the world of book art this weekend and satisfy all of the above criteria.
The London Artists Book Fair asks you to take the idea of ‘book art’ literally: the book itself as a piece of art. Beyond that, the definition of an artist’s book is apparently quite difficult to pin down, even among practitioners of the form. We've reached the following conclusions: An artist’s book may contain words; it may not. The words that it may or may not contain may be on any topic the artist deems important to the vision of the work. Or not. Pages might unfurl, objects may pop up out of its pages, or the work might consist of collected items in a box. It may include any number of other art forms. Though it doesn’t have to. Right? Erm...
If all these lofty art considerations leave you yearning for a simpler time when a book was a book, pop in to the Illustration Cupboard to have a peek at its annual winter exhibition. Ranging from the whimsical to the fantastic to the downright cute, the illustrations on display may induce in you an overwhelming desire to curl up in the foetal position, a mug of warm milk in one hand and your favourite blankie in the other. We don’t know why this snowman is roller-skating or why this blue baboon is playing the flute, but we’re just happy they are.
The London Artists Book Fair, at the ICA, starts tomorrow, 23 November, and runs through Sunday, 25 November. The Illustration Cupboard’s Winter Exhibition is ongoing, closing 31 January 2008. Admittance to both is free. Collecting, of course, is not.
By Julie Palmer-Hoffman
Image courtesy of esterase’s Flickrstream.