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Artist Novels

Author: 
David Moroto and Joanna ZieliƄska
Publication date: 
2014
Publisher: 
Cricoteka | Sternberg Press
ISBN: 
978-3-956790-76-8

Lindsay Seers Pages 73 - 83

The Book Lovers is a research project on the phenomenon of artists' novels curated by David Maroto and Joanna Zielinska. The central question of this research is how a literary genre such as the novel becomes a medium in the visual arts, exactly as video or installation could be. There have been artists throughout the 20th century who wrote novels as an activity more or less detached from their visual art production. However, in recent years an increasing number of artists have begun to integrate their novels as a fundamental part of their visual art projects. Surprisingly, there is a lack of research on this subject. This circumstance gives rise to a situation in which artists who write novels are not aware of others doing the same. With The Book Lovers we are intending to create public awareness of this silently widespread artistic trend. As its cornerstone, we created a collection of artists’ novels with a parallel online database (both supported by the M HKA in Antwerp), and complemented it with a series of exhibitions, performances, publications, and a pop-up book store, which has enabled us to engage with a host of international institutions.

The collection includes, among others, novels written by: Carl Andre, Hugo Ball, Matthew Brannon, AA Bronson, Jake Chapman, Keren Cytter, Salvador Dalí, Tim Etchells, Öyvind Fahlström, Matias Faldbakken, Liam Gillick, Goldin+Senneby, Rodney Graham, Renée Green, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Pablo Helguera, Stewart Home, Isidore Isou, Pierre Klossowski, Joseph Kosuth, Yayoi Kusama, Gareth Long, Jill Magid, Tom McCarthy, Brian O’Doherty, Mai-Thu Perret, Tom Phillips, Francis Picabia, Richard Prince, Stuart Ringholt, David Robbins, Roee Rosen, Lindsay Seers, Benjamin Seror, Alexandre Singh, Cally Spooner, Oscar Tuazon, Andy Warhol… to a total of 487 titles. This collection is the result of a research carried out by David Maroto and Joanna Zielinska, and it has been acquired by M HKA, to be part of the museum’s collection. Click here to access the artists' novels database hosted by M HKA.

The Book Lovers researches the many different ways in which novels are part of visual art projects. Here, the concept of the novel is not only confined to the space of the book, but it is expanded in a body of works that are interrelated and find their central reference in its narrative. Introducing traits that are particular of narrative literature into the visual arts implies the accentuation of some features over others. Notions such as narration, fiction, identification, issues of authorship, the very act of reading and the protracted engagement that it involves, as well as strategies of distribution in public space, might be familiar to any writer, but for the visual artist they open up a world of possibilities.

Collaborating institutions:
M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp
CCA Ujazdowski Castle Warsaw
de Appel, Amsterdam
EFA Project Space, NYC
Cricoteka in Kraków
Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw
Printed Matter, NYC
Buchhandlung Walther König
Sternberg Press
Fabra i Coats - Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
The London Art Book Fair
X Marks the Bökship
ProQM