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UJ art exhibition celebrates book art

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is holding two exhibitions, a colloquium, as well as associated workshops and walkabouts focusing on artists' books.

Between March and May 2017, the UJ Art Gallery and FADA Gallery will respectively display a selection of artists’ books from the collection of Jack Ginsberg, as well as a diverse range of recent book arts and book objects from South African artists, designers and students, which encompass traditional, experimental and digital responses to the book as an artwork.

UJ art exhibition celebrates book art

David Paton, senior lecturer at the Department of Visual Art (Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture) and organiser/curator of 'Booknessess', says, “It is important to gather the broad book arts community in South Africa to share and discuss diverse topics that relate to the book arts. They can also share their skills, knowledge and experiences of making, collecting and theorising the artist’s book in South Africa. It is imperative to introduce South African artists, designers and students to international experts and keynote speakers in the field, so as to make meaningful global connections.”

Prof Jane Taylor, at the UJ Theatre, will moderate a public conversation between Jack Ginsberg and William Kentridge on the theme of ‘Making and Collecting’ on 26 March 2017.

The programme includes:

  • Booknesses: Artists Books from the Jack Ginsberg Collection will be held at the UJ Art Gallery, University of Johannesburg, Kingsway Campus, Johannesburg, opening Saturday, 25 March and running until 5 May 2017. This exhibition is curated by David Paton assisted by Annali Dempsey, Rosalind Cleaver and Jack Ginsberg and is accompanied by an extensive full-colour catalogue of the 258 book objects, historical and contemporary from both South African and international artists represented in one of the largest and most comprehensive exhibitions of artists’ books ever to have been held internationally. The catalogue contains essays by David Paton, Keith Dietrich, Pippa Skotnes, Robbin Ami Silverberg and Kim Berman in conversation with Jack Ginsberg, is edited by Robyn Sassen and will add extensive new knowledge to the book arts in South Africa. This much-anticipated exhibition and its catalogue highlight a small aspect of the remarkable Jack Ginsberg Collection of Artists’ Books which is internationally acknowledged respected and is unique on the African continent.

  • Booknesses: South African Artists’ Books will be held at the FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg, Bunting Road Campus, Johannesburg, opening Friday, 24 March and running until 5 May 2017. Curated by David Paton, Eugene Hon, Gordon Froud and Rosalind Cleaver, the exhibition of over 100 works will be accompanied by an online catalogue.

  • An international colloquium, Booknesses: Taking Stock of the Book Arts in South Africa will be held at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Bunting Road Campus, University of Johannesburg from Friday, 24 to Sunday, 26 March 2017. It includes presentations in the form of practical demonstrations of work and papers presented by local and international book artists and those working with the book as an artwork. Papers and roundtable discussions will be presented within the following fields of the book arts. Keynote speakers include: Sarah Bodman, Senior Research Fellow for Artists' Books at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), University of the West of England, Bristol, UK; Robbin Ami Silverberg, an artist and founding director of Dobbin Mill, a hand-papermaking studio; and Dobbin Books, a collaborative artist book studio in New York.

For more information, visit uj.ac.za/arts.

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