Elisabeth Tonnard

Blank. Raw. Illegible…

From May 14 to September 3, the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum in Düren shows Blank. Raw. Illegible… Artists’ Books as Statements (1960-2022). Expect a whopping total of 259 books in the show, most of which will be visible to the eye.

Curated by Moritz Küng, the exhibition explores how contemporary artists and artist collectives exploit and activate the conceptual potential of a blank sheet of paper or a book with empty pages for their artistic practice. Starting with an authoritative exploration by artist Herman de Vries of the designation of the color white, the exhibition opens up the diversity of artistic concepts in reflecting on emptiness, purity, and raw material in relation to the formal and functional criteria of books in 15 chapters, the headings of each of which are taken from one of their book titles.

The Invisible Book will be on view in the show, and gives one of the chapters its name. For more information, visit the museum’s website. A catalogue will be published by Walther König (ISBN: 978-3-7533-0463-2).

For those wishing to read up on The Invisible Book, there were recently some new discussions of it: by Gill Partington in the London Review of Books (Vol. 45 No. 4, February 2023), by Annette Gilbert in the quite essential Literature’s Elsewheres (MIT Press, 2022), and by Felipe Cussen in La oficina de la nada (Ediciones Siruela, 2022).


The postcardset of The Invisible Book will be part of Inexistent Books VI, curated by Sveinn Fannar Jóhannsson and Jan Steinbach at Salong in Oslo, May 19 – June 4.

Visible, but also involving blank spaces, the book version of The Man of the Crowd is on view in a small exhibit on Edgar Allan Poe at Centre Céramique in Maastricht right now.

Written by Elisabeth Tonnard

May 8, 2023 at 6:11 pm

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