Italiano (Italian)

*Featured photo: Maria Jole Serreli, Libri per sempre, 2023. Atto performativo Maria Jole Serreli, The forever books, 2023 – Performance

Curated by Paolo Cortese
Gramma_Epsilon Gallery, Athens
15 June-20 October, 2023
Hours: Tue_Sat 11:00 – 19:00
Opening 15 June 2023 at 18:00
Maria Jole Serreli Live Performance at 19:00

Franca Sonnino, Libro d’autunno, 2023 filo di ferro e filo di rocchetto cm 29 x 21 x 8 Franca Sonnino, Autumn Book, 2023 iron wire and bobbin thread 29 x 21 x 8 cm

“Of all man’s instruments, the most wondrous, no doubt, is the book. The other instruments are extensions of his body. The microscope, the telescope, are extensions of his sight; the telephone is the extension of his voice; then we have the plow and the sword, extensions of the arm. But the book is something else altogether: the book is an extension of memory and imagination.”
Jorge Luis Borges

Francesca Cataldi, Libro di catrame, 1982 rete, carta, catrame cm 17 x 17 x 30 Francesca Cataldi, Tar Book, 1982 net, paper, tar 17 x 17 x 30 cm

From June 15 to October 20, Gramma Epsilon Gallery in Athens presents the group exhibition “Books as Art” curated by Paolo Cortese, with the Patronage of the Italian Institute of Culture in Athens. The exhibition, dedicated to the book as a form of art, showcases works of artists from different generations and nationalities. Concrete and verbo-visual works that date back to the 1960s are placed in a dialogue with works by artists of later generations who continue to explore the multiple possibilities of the book as an expression of their art.

In the terminology established by Mirella Bentivoglio in the 1980s and 1990s during numerous group exhibitions dedicated to this particular form of artistic expression, ‘librista’ is used as a term that describes an artist who produces book-objects, the artist who is inspired by the form and the meaning of the book. Two universes are being put together: that of Logos, the language, which the works represent through their form, and that of the Mater, the matter, which the works celebrate through their substance. Two opposing dimensions that emerge in singular, communicative and silent poetic testimonies.

In this era of the computer, in which the book has declined as a medium of verbal communication, its symbolism engraved in the subconscious renders it a new vehicle for global communication. In such a way the book-object has truly broken all customs and it is not known anymore whether it is a theme, a technique, a support or a movement. In a participatory and questioning way, it seems to indicate a general awareness of a new iconography of the Logos, which the human of our time recognizes and communicates”, writes Mirella Bentivoglio in 1990 when presenting a historical exhibit dedicated to ‘Librismo’ at the Art Duchamp Gallery in Cagliari. Furthermore, “they are volumes in both senses of the word; volumes considering their physicality. No longer vehicles of language, the books are symbols of the book; they dig deep into the psyche and find the archetype of the tables of the law. Books that undergo transformation in terms of form, structure, matter, giving rise to plastic-poetic circuits. Linguistic objects which by association move the work from the field of art to the suddenly complementary field of poetry”.

Renata Prunas, Libricidio, 2022 inchiostro, collage e nylon, su libro stampato cm 30 x 30 x 23 Renata Prunas, Libricidio, 2022 ink, collage and nylon, on printed book 30 x 30 x 23 cm

The works exhibited in Athens are three-dimensional, inspired by the book and the page, created by more than thirty international artists from the area of conceptual, verbal, visual and fiber art of different countries and generations. Captivating and communicative works, realized in diverse materials, which are capable of bringing together with immediacy the world of the words with the universe of the materiality. Many works in this exhibition are historical examples and have been exhibited in the most prestigious museum venues. For the most part, they are unique pieces, together with examples of special editions.

During the opening, Maria Jole Serreli, a fiber artist from Sardinia, will realize her performance The Forever Books: ten books, containers of word and real stories, dressed in dreams, will be sealed forever preserving the memory of the intimate story of whoever owned them.

Artists: Marilla Battilana, Mirella Bentivoglio, Tomaso Binga, Evangelía Biza, Irma Blank, Anna Boschi, Francesca Cataldi, Chiara Diamantini, Lia Drei, Anna Esposito, Elisabetta Gut, Fernanda Fedi, Susanne Kessler, Maria Lai, Rosanna Lancia, Virginia Lorenzetti, Lucia Marcucci, Gisella Meo, Patrizia Molinari, Aurelia Muñoz, Elly Nagaoka, Giulia Niccolai, Renata Prunas, Betty Radin, Anna Maria Sacconi, Alba Savoi, Marilena Scavizzi, Greta Schödl, Maria Jole Serreli, Franca Sonnino, Giulia Spernazza, Chima Sunada, Saletta Tavares, Anna Torelli, Anna Uncini, Carla Vasio

Clothes book, 2023 Legno, cera, indumenti usati, cemento bianco 7 x 20 x 12 cm. Crediti fotografici di Manuela Giusto

Clothes book, Giulia Spernazza. The work is inspired by the concept of the book as the layering of stories and lives of those who have the experience of reading. It thus intends to emphasize individuals interacting with an ideal content, each one projecting his or her own experience into it and identifying with narrated characters or situations. In this sense, the object-book appears solid and well-defined, but at the same time its semi-transparency and its camouflage with the white of the walls highlights the material that leaks out, fragments of clothing that become symbols of the bodies and existences that have passed through it. A layering of textile sheets that become like pages of different lives that follow one another, put together in an essential container that protects them. The soft material is first immersed in white concrete, individual identities transcended through a material that, in addition to connecting to previous works related to the concept of home as inhabited space, intends to place the work in an absolute dimension.