lowercase reading room

July 22, 2008

New Exhibition: Russian Zines and Estonian Artist’s Books

Filed under: Artist's Books — lowercasebooks @ 6:34 am

The exhibition Russian Zines and Estonian Artists’ Books is a selection of some of the new books in the collection of Jo Cook and Wesley Mulvin. The following blog entry written by Cook is a short introduction to some of the books you can find in the lowercase reading room during the month of August.

Just across the street from the Moscovski Railway Station in St Petersburg is the Contemporary Arts and Culture Centre, The Pushkinskaya 10. The three-story centre is a warren of halls, stairwells, outdoor courtyards and doors with hand-lettered signs in Cyrillic that say John Lennon’s Temple, Fish Fabrique Club, The Museum of Non-conformist Art and the door to the “Kultprosvet” Information Bureau & Book Club, an intimate bookstore well-stocked with local publishers’ books on art and culture along with a good selection of St Petersburg underground publications.

The books we are showing at the lowercase reading room for the month of August are zines and comics by St Petersburg artists. There are half a dozen volumes of Van Gogh’s Ear, a quarterly photocopied zine with a different theme for each issue, usually with hand-painted covers.

Two pages from the Book of Dead Poets, Thirteen Poets Destroyed by Their Own Country. Published in an edition of 100 copies.

Wild Division, by Grigory Katsnelson. Published in an edition of 50 copies in blue ink on newsprint.

There are small press books about anatomy and other subjects and a wonderful box filled with sheets of drawings on recycled brown paper. These drawings are not only beautiful but funny too – even if you can’t read Cyrillic. You can find out more about the Pushkinskaya 10 here: http://p10.nonmuseum.ru and the link to Gavril Lunin’s website is here: http://www.lubnin.pp.ru/ and link to the artist who publishes Van Gogh’s Ear is here: http://www.girsh4.narod.ru

Another beautiful set of books by Dimitri Prigov (5 November 1940- 16 July 2007) is the box of 13 mini-books published by Stop Over Press in 1996. You can read an interview with Prigov by Philip Metres here: http://behindthelinespoetry.blogspot.com/2007/07/ends-of-russian-poetry-interview-with.html

The Estonian artists’ books in this exhibition are a diverse cross-section of publications that we collected randomly or were given to us as gifts by other artists when we were in Tallinn, Estonia at an artists’ residency.

Rääkivad Majad, Speaking Houses by Mark Adam and Marko Mäetamm is a bilingual edition of 10 stories that are profoundly dark and disturbing. Hand bound in an edition of 200 by Lennart Mänd who teaches book binding at the Estonian Art Academy, this book is a typically stunning example of the unparralled craftsmanship in Estonian artists’ books. Published by Royal Incest Books of Pain.

A Complete Guide to Estonian Bus Stops by Eve Kask and Signe Kivi is a two inch thick book with photographs of the1545 bus shelters in Estonia. The two women spent three years traveling 13,000 kilometers along Estonian roads documenting the unique and diverse architectural structures that serve as shelters for waiting bus passengers.

Eesti ’00 aastate autorikoomiks is a catalogue for a traveling exhibition of graphic narratives published by the Estonian Arts Academy. Check out this link to work in the exhibition here: http://www.hot.ee/koomiks

Please join us for the opening of this exhibition. The opening is from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on Sunday August 3rd. Jo Cook will be there to answer any questions. Please join us or visit the reading room any day of the week. We are open daily from noon to 5:00 pm.

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