Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trip to Olin Library

I found the illuminated manuscripts very interesting in a historical sense, but really after looking at a couple pages you sort of get the feel of the type treatment, and unless you know Latin, that's about as deep as it gets. I did get a better understanding of the hand craftsmanship that went into every book, which is a craft in itself. I really enjoyed looking through the Bauhaus style book from the Soviet Union, as far as I'm concerned I think that the Bauhaus movement was way ahead of its time. What I enjoyed the most, was the contemporary collection of books. My favorite book was "Codex Espangliensis: From Columbus to the Border Patrol." The authors/illustrators of this book combined art styles from the ancient Aztec cultures and mixed them with pop culture symbols from the United States. The book has a very edgy appeal, and has a definitely less then flattering social commentary upon the US. The book mixed images of Mickey Mouse with the macabre, or bloody images of Aztecs being slaughtered by European settlers with an unaffected Superman standing by. I also enjoyed "Sketchbook" by Clarence Morgan. It struck me as sort of a process book for his art projects, but was also filled with profound quotes... one stood out to me by Jean Cocteau, "Man is a cripple, By this I mean he is limited by finite dimensions that prevent him from understanding the infinite, where dimensions do not exist." Deep, and very Zen in nature. The other books that stood out were: "Believe This," a collection of vivid abstract organic doodlings that one student commented on as "depressing and [gestation-like]," and I also liked "The Word Returned" which was a series of typesets printed over and over, until the effect produced was very dark, edgy, and commentative on angelic imagery (or at least that's what I derived from it). 

1 comment:

April G. said...

I agree with what you said about hand craftsmanship. It amazed me that some of the pieces looked as tho margins were hand drawn on the pages. What a huge amount of work they had to go thru to put even one book together! And then to make multiple copies... I'm sure it took much dedication to their area of work.