Christo Doherty
Navigating the Bookscape: Artists’ books and the Digital Interface (@ Joburg, October 17 2006)
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You have to be on the ball to catch the more interesting exhibitions currently in Joburg. Even quicker than usual was David Paton’s fascinating exhibition on the genre of the artist’s book in the age of digital reproduction. It was initially staged at the Aardklop Arts Festival in Potchefstroom; and then it appeared briefly in the FADA Gallery at UJ. I caught a glimpse just hours before the entire show was packed up; and it’s frustrating not to have the opportunity to return and ponder the works.

Even more frustrating is the unreadabililty of the exhibition website! For a site which should foreground legibility, the unfortunate exhibition site is a hopeless case, with tiny text superimposed over a mosaic background. For those interested, I recommend that you try to lay yr hands on the (printed) exhibition catalogue. It’s well laid out, beautifully illustrated and has useful essays by Robyn Sassen and David Paton.

Navigating the Bookscape is a small exhibition featuring works from the collection of artists’ books owned by Jack Ginsberg, and supplemented by works specially commissioned by Paton. The artists include Kim Lieberman, Giulio Tambellini, Andre Venter, Marc Edwards, Abrie Fourie, and Paul Emmanuel. In this, Paton seems to be making very good use of a National Research Foundation grant and it’s a strategy that academically-based curators should be investigating. The NRF seems to be considerably ahead of most Universities in that it recognises creative practice as a legitimate form of research.