In late June, the State Library of Queensland was the venue for the Siganto Foundation Artists’ Books Seminar for 2015. The precinct was buzzing with an array of activities that took place over two days. The extravaganza commenced on Saturday with the keynote address by Brazilian artist, performer and academic Amir Brito Cadôr. It was inspiring to see so many talented people gathered in one place. We heard from the 2014 Siganto Foundation Artists’ Books Fellows Doug Spowart and Jan Davis who shared the results of their research and creative work.
The afternoon was filled with excitement as Dr. Marie Siganto announced, Dr. Victoria Cooper and Ana Paula Estrada to be the second round 2015 fellowship recipients. What followed was a variety of book performances, by Thomas Yaxley, Emily Weir and Meghan Clarke students from QUT, who performed Robert Bringhurst’s artist’s book New World Suite number three: a poem in four movements for three voices.
We welcomed back Amir Brito Cadôr, with his performance of Momento Vital by Brazilian artist Vera Chaves Barcellos. Louise Martin-Chew, led a panel discussion before the closing performances of the day by Clyde McGill and sisters Julie & Virginia Barratt.
Sunday morning in the Knowledge walk was a vibrant affair with artists and bookmakers setting up stalls for the Artists’ Book Fair. They had a bountiful collection of works on display for sale and to complement the weekend’s events. SLQ staff conducted tours of selected artists’ books from the State Library’s Artists’ Book Collection.
These were available in the Fox Family White Gloves Room from 10am until 4pm. The Artists’ Books Collection, one of the component collections of the Australian Library of Art, is the largest publicly available collection of artists’ books in Australia, and is recognised as one of the best in the country. It consists of around 1500 works featuring both Australian and overseas artists. Artists’ books are artworks that use the form or the concept of the book. Free from the constraints of traditional publishing, they are about nothing so much as themselves. They can be handcrafted or commercially printed; unique; or in limited or unlimited editions. Forms range from the traditional codex to sculptural works, or they may have audio, video, installation, online and performance components.
The collection includes works using a diversity of materials and methods of printmaking, binding, papermaking and other bookmaking technologies and wide ranging conceptual frameworks.
The weekend event closed with many of the visitors still eager to see what was available in the collections of the Australian Library of Art and the promise, they would return to investigate these collections further. Artists’ books can be ordered and viewed in the John Oxley Library reading room. All artists’ books in the collection are cataloged in Onesearch and may be found there by searching “ALAAB”. A selection have been digitised and are also available via one search.
To keep up-to-date with our new acquisitions, events, exhibitions and visitors and what the Australian Library of Art staff have been doing please visit our blog.
Janette Garrad – Published Content Technician, State Library of Queensland