Photographs of a book of photographs of books.
Sol LeWitt, Artist’s Books (Edizioni Viaindustriae, Foligno, 2009)
Artists’ books are, like any other medium, a means of conveying art ideas from the artist to the viewer/reader. Unlike most other media they are available to all at a low cost. They do not need a special place to be seen. They are not valuable except for the ideas they contain.
I love Sol LeWitt’s artist’s books, each one a sequenced working-through of a particular idea, be that an examination of form, line or colour, or a photographic catalogue of a set of objects (grids, sunsets, brick walls).
Perhaps my favourite’s Autobiography (1980), LeWitt’s attempt to document methodically his home and studio and their contents - beginning with the floors and the plumbing and ending up with books, artworks, family photographs - thus exploring the systems and assumptions within which he lived. When I was failing to learn photography, I began, rather haphazardly, a similar project, only to discover LeWitt had long since done it far better than I could ever hope to.
I’ve never actually held a copy of Autobiography in my hands, let alone flicked through one. To buy it now would set you back at least £1200. So much for “available to all at a low cost" and "not valuable except for the ideas they contain.”