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Introduction Prior to the advent of woodblock printing and moveable type, books existed as objects of desire unto themselves; the labour intrinsic to their production all but outweighing the actual content of the books. As the printing process became progressively mechanised and conducive to mass-production, the book object became more commonplace and the fervour with which they were regarded faded through familiarity. Despite this however, the book remains imbued with an aura of indispensability. As Richard Minsky observes, “A single copy of a book is a curious thing. Even when part of a large edition, it is rarely considered disposable. People have books on their shelves that they haven’t looked at in years, yet they don’t throw them out or give them away. A passing glance at the shelf gives a reassuring feeling, a reminder of the knowledge one has absorbed”1 It is perhaps this embedded sentimental significance which prompted artists early in the Twentieth Century to increasingly rediscover value in the “book as medium”, looking at ways to allow it to function as an independent entity as opposed to an arbitrary vessel of text. Gradually, this evolved into the concept of “artist’s books”, wherein the conventions and inherencies of books were utilised and appropriated to inspire the realisation of works of art. With this in mind, iArt Gallery takes great pleasure in presenting Open Books, a group exhibition of new and existing work by South African artists that directly engages with the medium of books. This engagement manifests itself in many ways within the works. In some cases the form of the book is faithfully preserved, in others it is reinterpreted completely. What remains consistent is that the physical book object perseveres as a meaningful catalyst for artistic production. As such, Open Books aims to provide a forum for these works, and in conjunction, to reflect on the endearing relationship between the book object and its inspiration to South African artists.


Minsky, R. 1990. Book Arts in the USA. New York: Center for Book Arts. Pg 3.



Audrey Anderson Willem Boshoff Tom Cullberg Keith Dietrich Stephan Erasmus Liza Grobler Sandra Hanekom Marlise Keith Norman O’Flynn Chad Rossouw Fabian Saptouw Mark Splendid Colijn Strydom Heléne van Aswegen Jan van der Merwe Barbara Wildenboer 5


Pull Yourself Together 2011 mixed media (Ink on Dictionary paper) Dimensions variable 11 separate pieces



OPENANDSHUT 2011 Jacaranda & Imbuia wood 7 logs - Dimensions variable Base: 215x70x12cm



Wild Life 2011 Oil on canvas Diptych 130 x 170 cm (x2)


Wild Life (Detail) 2011 Oil on canvas Diptych 130 x 170 cm (x2)

KEITH DIETRICH Horizons of Babel - Anysberg 2011 Framed water colour on rag paper 150 x 32 cm

Fourteen Stations of the Cross 2011 Framed digital print 30.5 x 105.5 cm

Fourteen Stations of the Cross 2011 Set of 3 artist’s book & slipcases 26 x 26 cm



Gee nie Tou op nie (Detail) 2011 Paper, string, wooden spindle in box Dimensions variable

Gee nie Tou op nie 2011 Paper, string, wooden spindle in box Dimensions variable 10

LIZA GROBLER Ripple 2011 Drawing and paper construction 50 x 5 x 16cm

Lead Locked 2011 Drawing and paper construction 50 x 5 x 16cm

Informal Settlement 2011 Drawing and paper construction 50 x 5 x 16cm 11


Head Space - space - New Identity 2011 Mixed Media on Paper 56 x 76.5 cm

The Human Dilemma - Living key 2011 Mixed Media on Paper 56 x 76.5 cm



Fata Morgana (Details) 2011 Mixed media on found dictionary 310 x 25 cm 13


Colour by Heroes 2011 Artist Book (Screen print) Edition number 10

Addiction 2011 (different printing process) Collaboration with: Barend De Wet, Christian Nerf, Douglas Gimberg, Asha Zero, Marna Hattingh, Philippe Kayumba Wayafolo, Christopher Slack, Nicholas Hales, Selvin November, Jeanne Hoffman, Dathini Mzayiya, Vuyile Voyiya, Nomthunzi Mashalaba, Nomusa Makhubu, Barbara Wildenboer, Pierre Fouché, Ella Ziegler, Hasan and Husain Essop, Shane de Lange, Abrie Fourie 14


You Only Live Twice 2008 First Edition book 19.5 x 13.5cm

You Only Live Twice 2008 Light jet print 59 x 79cm 15



The Picture of Dorian Gray (Details) 2011 Mondi rotatrim paper, toner, entire text Oscar Wilde’s novel “The Picture of Dorian Grey” 29 x 21cm


Seeing the woods for the leaves 2011 paper, polyester cotton, glue, corrugated cardboard, tea & varnish 153 x 95cm

Just for Today 2011 paper, polyester cotton, glue, corrugated cardboard, tea & varnish 128 x 79cm



Miss Otis Regrets 2011 Artist book 50.5 x 35.5 cm

Listen more to things 2011 Oil on Canvas 135 x 200cm 18


The Nature of Technology.doc/Rust 2010-2011 Half Leather book on innova paper (200g) Ultrachrome archival inkjet ink 24.5 x23 cm

The Nature of Technology.doc/ Verbatim 2010-2011 Framed watercolour painting 50.7 x 29.7 cm



Seven Love Letters (Details) 2010 Rust marks on paper & Rusted Metal 26 x 47 cm 20


Interior / Exterior: Flowering plants and ferns 2011 Altered book 48 x 38 cm

Untitled 2011 Altered Book 50 x 40 cm 21

Acknowledgements Elana Brundyn, Ann Gonsalves, Igsaan Martin, Tshidiso Msikinya, Megan Twine, Zandi Nxoko, Jacqueline Nurse

CATALOGUE NO.11 July 2011 This catalogue has been produced to accompany the group exhibition ‘Open Books’, at iArt Gallery, 06 July- 31 August 2011. Curated by: Johann Du Plessis and Tim Leibbrandt Introduction Text: Tim Leibbrandt Design: Tim Leibbrandt Photography: Tshidiso Msikinya and Igsaan Martin Some images courtesy of the artists.

iArt Gallery 71 Loop Street, Cape Town, South Africa +27 (0) 21 424 5150 22

'Open Books' Exhibition Catalogue  

The exhibition catalogue for iArt Gallery's group exhibition 'Open Books'. Participating Artists: Audrey Anderson, Willem Boshoff, Tom Cull...

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