Fairs | February 2011 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Report from CODEX, part 4

Guest Blog by Richard Minsky, book artist and FB&C book art columnist

Field Report from CODEX Wednesday, Feb. 9, 8:40 p.m.

Caroline Saltzwedel, proprietor of  Hirundo Press started her talk, titled "The Red Line to Eve," with the comment that Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg was Hitler's favorite opera. She presented a straightforward explication of the relationship of the plot to her interpretive imagery in this work-in-progress (shown above).

Marina and Mikhail Karasik then gave a creative multimedia presentation of their project (shown above) on The Palace of the Soviets, titled The Tower of Babel of the USSR. It started with an unreleased 1938 propaganda video about the building, and went on to show books about the building, which was never built, but was written about as though it existed. The quantity of architectural designs, models, industrial production and political philosophy surrounding the attempt to build what would have been the world's tallest building, topped by a statue of Lenin much bigger than the Statue of Liberty, was mind-boggling. Marina, comparing it to Atlantis, then showed the artistic interpretation of this as a book and a collage-cartoon, some of which was hilarious.



After a short break, Richard Ovenden, Keeper of Special Collections and Associate Director of the Bodleian Libraries (Oxford)  spoke about "The Place of the Book Arts in the 21st Century Research Library." He started with historical examples of book art works, (pictured above) from Mughal illustrated manuscripts to those influenced by William Morris, and proceeded to contemporary competitions and exhibitions of bookbinding design. This was followed by the importance of artists' archives, such as their acquisition of Leonard Baskin's Gehenna Press (including Baskin's Albion handpress) and Tom Phillips' Dante's Inferno.

Photos credit & courtesy Richard Minsky, who did an excellent job reporting from Codex for us!