An act of self-reflection


Thyrza Nichols Goodeve considers the history and shape of the artists' book @ Spike Magazine.In the beginning, yes, let us agree: The book is and was and will be, even though, according to book historian Frederick G. Kilgour, we are now in the “Fourth Evolution” of the book – electronic publication.  Here, our experience of “the book” as we have known it as a physical object is undergoing a major transformation, one that whispers in the ear of any artist’s book even if the artist’s project is ostensibly about something else.  For instance, Tatana Kellner’s71125: 50 Years of Silence (1992) is not about the metaphysics of the book the way Buzz Spector’s books are. It is about her mother’s fifty years of silence in regards to her imprisonment in a German concentration camp during World War II. But in order to “write” this book, she could not limit herself only to conventional pages of text and image but had to go beyond the book. Her intent was not to write the story into public consciousness but to embody the experience of dehumanization and fragmentation of the camp by incorporating a three-dimensional reproduction of her mother’s tattooed “71125” forearm inside the pages as a die cut – as the core or “spine” of the book through which the reader reads her story.

Ellen Gallagher
Thyrza Nichols Goodeve on Amazon

"In formal terms, the book is comprised of printed pages which have been die cut to accommodate a sculptural element – a life-size cast of an elderly woman’s arm… The arm sculpture lies on the inside back cover of the book so that it remains the center of the reading experience. Because the pages are die cut through- out the arm never goes away, and as the pages diminish, its dimensionality is increasingly apparent."Kellner transforms the book while using its basic format and as Joanna Drucker states, The transformed book is an more