Report from CODEX, part 3

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

Field Report from CODEX Wednesday, Feb. 9, 7:20 a.m.

The second day of the CODEX Symposium presentations began with Markus Fahrner talking about the Fahrner & Fahrner creative process. Barbara Fahrner could not be there, so she sent a stack of cards for him to read with her general thoughts on this. While he was talking a series of images flashed on the big screen (shown below).

fahrner.jpgIt didn’t work for me. The images commanded a lot of attention. When the books on screen raised questions in my mind, those were not always parallel to what he was saying at the moment. Perhaps my brain was on overload from all the input here, but that much multitasking did not enhance my comprehension. I liked what he had to say, but would have preferred either a straight talk about the creative process with fewer or no images, or some reference to the images and how they exemplified the aspects of creativity being discussed at the moment.

Juan_Nicanor_Pascoe3.jpg
Juan_Nicanor_Pascoe1.jpg
Perhaps this is a new presentation paradigm, as Juan Nicanor Pascoe used a similar format later in the morning when talking about his life as a fine printer in Mexico (two images, pictured above). Juan was a protégé of the great Harry Duncan. The talk was entertaining, starting with his family history and their migrations through several generations back and forth between Mexico and the USA. The images, which showed Mexican landscapes, printing presses, beer, and Juan playing the guitar, did not demand the sort of attention that would distract from his narrative, so in this case the suite of background images was a successful accompaniment.

Didier_Mutel1.jpgBetween the above two presentations, we were treated to Didier Mutel’s saga of the acquisition of his atelier, which included presses, ancient containers of pigments, and all sorts of cool stuff (shown above). Originally housed in a historical edifice, he has had to move several times, and showed pictures of the various facilities and artifacts, interspersed with examples of his projects and his young childrens’ work, all of which was enlightening. A perfect combination of skillful means, intelligence, technical experimentation, visual acuity, and humor.

Martha_Hellion.jpgThe day’s sessions finished with Martha Hellion talking about “Artist’s Books and Printing Beyond Borders.” There were pictures of works by many artists (one pictured above), but unfortunately it was hard to figure out who did what or why it was important because of difficulties hearing her. It would be better in the future to use wireless Lavalier microphones rather than podium goosenecks, so that speakers can move about freely.

ninja-persephones2.jpgIn the afternoon the exhibitors were back at their tables, and several told me that sales were up from the previous CODEX. One of my favorites is The Persephones (seen above) by Nathaniel Tarn, from Carolee Campbell’s Ninja Press. Each folio is hand painted by Carolee with sumi ink and salt, with a stunning effect.

Photos credit & courtesy: Richard Minsky.


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