Concept of the video:
The stages of creating an artist’s book. A performance is accompanied by overlapping images and visual windows where the work of an artist’s book is recreated. Finally, the words that emerge from the background of the video relate the main steps in the creation of the constructive process.
Currently the ARTIST’S BOOK has become one of the most interesting contemporary manifestations for visual art. The concept of the Artist’s Book is understood as a work in itself, which thus becomes the integral project of an artist. It opens a new panorama of images, experiences, forms, techniques, and allows the word to be blended with the artistic project itself.
The beautiful classic book illustrated sometimes with wonderful engravings belongs to a different family. In reality, the Artist’s Book is at its antipodes and proposes a new conception. Although it may sometimes have a simpler or less luxurious appearance, its project is much more ambitious. The Artist’s Book is, in its entirety, conceived by an artist who concretizes his or her ideas and directs their execution. In the illustrated book, the painter or draughtsman is, in Matisse’s words, a second instrument that must keep up with the writer and illuminate him. In an Artist’s Book the artist writes or chooses the texts – when they exist – produces the images and takes care of their design; it is in their interrelationship that its creative function finds full development. From the beginning, the artist chooses the different media based on their combinations and the relationships that he or she wants to establish and highlight. Many times this artist belongs to a new type of creators who are no longer just painters or sculptors, but who resort to unpublished and diverse materials, and who transform the book into a true alternative space, into an exceptional piece of their visual proposals.
A new generation of artists has abandoned the path of intellectual rigor and aesthetic asceticism that characterized the production of the Artist’s Book in its beginnings, for the seductions of a wide visual and tactile register. The limits established between the illustrated book, the artist’s book and the object book are often blurred. Many editions that are true works of art fall at the intersection of these categories and are sometimes among the best achieved and most prolific. This emancipation of the Artist’s Book from its conceptual origins translates into a growing number of publications with special formats, papers, bindings and assemblies: the Artist’s Book, being a paper book, to be opened and browsed, looks less and less like a traditional book.
Buenos Aires, 1998
The Artist’s book “Myths of Creation” was born from looking and from a magnificent discovery for me. Many years ago on a trip to our continent and walking through the city of Bogotá, I visited the Gold Museum of the Bank of the Republic of Colombia, there I found a very beautiful text engraved on a large wall, a myth of creation of the Kogui people that inhabited and still does in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in that country. I was moved reading that beautiful abstract myth that told us about the mother, about women and that involved the moment of the creation of the world in a unique way.
First there was the sea, everything was dark
There was no sun, no moon, no people, no animals, no plants
The sea was the mother
The mother was not people, or anything, or anything else
She was spirit of what was to come
And she was thought and memory
An intense text, valuing women and with expressive beauty.
On work or leisure trips, I usually carry a small notebook with me that allows me to record ideas, drawings and texts that will later come together in the devolpment of my works.
The unforgettable text that I recorded that noon in the splendid Gold Museum of Bogotá, remained with me for many years and when in 1994 I returned to that city invited by Arte Dos Grafico, one of the workshops dedicated to the most significant printmaking in Latin America, and it offered the opportunity of a residence to create an artist’s book, I automatically thought of the Kogui Mythology and that engraving hanging on the wall of the museum that I had enjoyed years before. That text was then the inspiration for the residency project and for the artist’s book “Myths of Creation”.
The artist’s book currently and for many years, constitutes a new space for reflection, a new circumstance where the book goes from being an element or a means of communication to becoming an object in itself, creating instances of absolutely specific and extremely creative.
The preparation of the Artist’s Book “Myths of Creation” had several moments; the first stage was in Buenos Aires where I documented the myths; making use of these possibilities, I spent several afternoons in the library of the Ethnographic Museum of Buenos Aires, where I was able to access specific yearbooks on the subject.
The second stage, already in Bogotá, consisted of sketching the book project in the Arte Dos Grafico workshops, trying different techniques, materials and experimenting with handmade paper with acid-free vegetable fibers.
The book was worked on jointly with the engraving and book publishing artisans of the workshop. The great challenge was to give it a structure; I combined images and texts about the perpetual night, the Eskimo myth, creation rites, Guaraní texts that narrate the appearance of man and language, and finally the mountain, the Andes mountain range in blue that forms the backbone of our Latin American continent. Etchings and serigraphs technically integrate this book with a handmade paper cover.
Finally, the colophon describes the moment of completion of this work, which marked a turning point in my artistic production; a moment where I closed the stage of a very long trip through Latin America, speaking precisely of the creation myths of native peoples. “Myths of Creation” was finished printing in the workshops of Arte Dos Grafico in Colombia on the night of September 22, 1993 in a crescent moon.
Buenos Aires September 17, 2021