Elisabeth Tonnard

Posts Tagged ‘book

The Pine of Takekuma

I’m pleased to publish a small handmade book I have been working on. It is based on Matsuo Bashō’s Oku no Hosomichi, one of the major texts of classical Japanese literature. Specifically, it traces Bashō’s description of the pine tree of Takekuma, an immortal image that utters itself through several temporary realizations.

Bashō’s Oku no Hosomichi – one possible English translation is The Narrow Road to the Deep North – is a travel sketch, written in a combination of prose and haiku, based on a journey Bashō undertook in 1689. This journey took shape around many places mentioned and celebrated in earlier Japanese poetry. One of the sights depicted by Bashō is the pine tree of Takekuma. Time and again this tree, forked into two trunks, is resurrected.

The Pine of Takekuma presents and continues this process of resurrections by placing before the reader ten different existing English translations of the same passage in Bashō’s work.

Inkjet printed and handbound in a Japanese style stab binding with folds on the foredge, 30 pages, 12×19 cm.

Edition limited to 45 numbered copies.

The book is priced at €95 plus shipping. Order through my webshop or by sending an email.

Written by Elisabeth Tonnard

December 9, 2020 at 4:19 pm

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A History of Dogma


I’m happy to announce my newest book: A History of Dogma.

It is based on a book about the history of dogma (a 1951 copy of Walther Köhler’s Dogmengeschichte) that I came upon at a second-hand booksale in my hometown. This book, it was clear, had been expertly read by its previous owner. The markings left by this most dutiful reader, who essentially created a new history of dogma, are presented here.

The edition is limited to 75 numbered copies and the books are handmade. I printed them myself for color and reproduction accuracy, and bound them by hand using cold glue, a few tools and a lot of patience. It did occur to me at times that the stubborn working methods behind this very simple but highly labor-intensive book were mirroring or even outdoing the activity of the anonymous reader whose marks I was preserving.

See more images here.

The book is priced at € 50,- plus shipping. Order through email or through the webshop. Or pick up a copy at my table at the Small Publishers Fair in London on November 15/16.

Inkjet print, full color. Perfect bound paperback, cover of embossed paper, 14 x 21 cm. 114 pages.



Written by Elisabeth Tonnard

October 29, 2019 at 1:52 pm

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They Were Like Poetry


I’m happy to announce my new book. It consists of poems based on a suggestion by James Joyce.

The poems are exercises, composed from sentences that were themselves meant as exercises. The sentences come from a popular 19th century school grammar by Alexander Allen and James Cornwell. Joyce mentions the “nice sentences” in this book and the idea of them as poetry in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man:

And there were nice sentences in Doctor Cornwell’s Spelling Book. They were like poetry but they were only sentences to learn the spelling from.
——Wolsey died in Leicester Abbey
——Where the abbots buried him.
——Canker is a disease of plants,
——Cancer one of animals.
It would be nice to lie on the hearthrug before the fire, leaning his head upon his hands, and think on those sentences.

Which is what I did.

The edition consists of 100 numbered copies. The book is self-published, has black & white printing, a paperback binding, and contains 68 pages.

Priced at €24 plus shipping. The book can be ordered through my webshop or by sending me an email. It will also be available at the table I’m sharing with Joachim Schmid at the New York Art Book Fair, September 25-28.

See some images by clicking here.

Written by Elisabeth Tonnard

August 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Sweeping away the funereal haze


I love this post by Alec Soth, not only because it’s an honour that he writes about In this Dark Wood but also because of the wonderful connection (look at the covers!) to the other book, Everything Passes which I haven’t seen yet and indeed Wisconsin Death Trip (I always have to think of Paul Vanderbilt’s book using the same archive too, Between the Landscape and Its Other) but most of all because he sees these works are about the reader/viewer’s realization that these people “were once actually alive” — which is exactly it.

The post was triggered by the launch of the new edition of In this Dark Wood by J&L Books. It is on its way to distribution centers and will be available in shops soon. The book received another review by Tosh Berman recently and was also mentioned as #4 reason to visit the New York Art Book Fair by Jessie Wender from The New Yorker.

(the composite picture of the covers was done by Alec Soth)

Written by Elisabeth Tonnard

October 8, 2013 at 11:04 am

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The Kingdom


My 30th book to date has been released. The Kingdom is a small book that presents a glimpse of the kingdom that rises from the darkness and goes back into the same darkness. Rise and fall are created through the book’s peculiar structure, in which (almost) the whole book doubles back on itself and (almost) each page has its twin. For more information see this page.

Written by Elisabeth Tonnard

September 9, 2013 at 6:08 pm

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The Gospel of the Photographer


What would it be like if Jesus had been a photographer? What would he have done differently and which images would he have snapped? The Gospel of the Photographer imagines this possible world through a rewriting of the gospel of Mark. Words from the gospel were replaced by words connected to photography, resulting in a booby trapped text in which photography appears as an agent of miracles and healing—and announces itself ultimately as the new religion. The book includes twenty-five newly discovered photographs. For information see this page.

Written by Elisabeth Tonnard

September 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm

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Postcard set of The Invisible Book

DSC_6966    undisclosed_facility

In order to shed some light on the nebulous history of The Invisible Book, a set of visible postcards was published. From an early discussion about the book in 1654, to Robert Walser’s sterling 1925 review and Diane Simpson’s legendary marathon reading in 1980, discover some of the highlights in the book’s history through this set of six cards. The set is priced at € 5 plus € 1 shipping anywhere and available in my webshop. Or order by email.

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August 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm

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A ghost book

A message to collectors of my work. It has been brought to my attention that I seem to have published a non-existent book. Artist Joachim Schmid has apparently laid hands on a few copies and is offering them for sale here at a price that in any case would appear to be more reasonable than the copies offered on Amazon.com. Please be advised that I myself haven’t seen any copies of this book yet, though some people say: “good name. great book.”

UPDATE (July 6 2013) The mysterious book has already vanished again and the links above have become irrelevant. I have bought one on Ebay and will post soon. The Jean Keller copies seem to be the only ones available anymore.

Written by Elisabeth Tonnard

May 31, 2013 at 7:19 pm

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The Invisible Book

Because these auctions are not always up, a note here to point to the new auctions up on Ebay now of copies of the 1st edition of The Invisible Book. Buch in makellosem Zustand ohne fehlende oder beschädigte Seiten.

Written by Elisabeth Tonnard

March 17, 2013 at 5:15 pm

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A Dialogue in Useful Phrases on the air

The sound mix of A Dialogue in Useful Phrases is part of Reuse Aloud, a month-long exhibition and radio broadcast throughout March 2013. The project will be hosted in The NewBridge Project Space in Newcastle and broadcast on basic.fm as part of its digital arts programme, Pixel Palace. Reuse Aloud is curated by Will Strong and Rosanna Skett and examines the art of using old and existing compositions to make something new, asking questions about originality in the digital age. It does this through an ambitious schedule of live and pre-recorded work with contributions from artists and musicians from across the globe. Sunday March 3 at 15.02 (UK time) is the first airing.

Written by Elisabeth Tonnard

February 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm

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