Thursday, August 18, 2016

Alden Viguilla, What the Baku?, New Jersey: Alden Viguilla, 2014. [edition: 28]

Another very individual accordion from Viguilla. Pasted into its cardboard folder this silkscreen accordion sits at the edge of being just plain weird, wonderful, otherworldly and I have a strong suspicion that kids would love it.

5 pages at 5.75" x 3.5" and total length 1' 11".  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Paula Kemper, Toni, Zurich: Nimbus. Kunst und Bucher AG, 2012

A nice pocket-sized accordion by this young German artist and illustrator. The tale being told is certainly an enigmatic one with its central characters being a man, a woman and a bear. The characters wander across the pages in and out of different situations. Either way this is a really smart work that takes full advantage of the characteristics of the accordion format.

19 pages at 3.75" x 4", and fully extended 6ft 4".

Friday, July 8, 2016

La Jicama (The Gourd), #8, 1999, Chiapas, Mexico

I just came across another copy of this fantastic magazine created by indigenous Mayan women in San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico to promote Mayan culture. La Jicara's format, and this one is an atypical vertical accordion, embodies both pride, and resistance as it's modeled on the codices created by the women's Mayan ancestors that were all but destroyed by the Conquistadors and priests during the Spanish conquest. This periodical is only one of a number of publications produced by Taller Lenateros (The Woodlander's Workshop) which was founded in 1975 by an expatriate American, Ambar Past to promote Amerindian culture. The full range of their beautiful artists' books, prints and other publications can be seen, and purchased at: Taller leƱateros - papel hecho a mano.

I'm uncertain as to whether La Jicara is still being published but their current catalogue lists #8 (1998). In the summer of 2003 in Oaxaca I had the memorable experience of finding an almost complete set in the public art library near the main church. Silk-screened cover with 16 pages at 8.75" x 5.5", fully extended 11ft 4".

Friday, July 1, 2016

Tanya Modlin, Hotel Rompo, Chicago: Perfectly Acceptable Press, 2016

A fun Risograph accordion print by this Chicago-based independent comics artist and illustrator that depicts a wacky hotel with all sorts of different and strange activities taking place in a variety of rooms throughout and perpetrated by a retinue of wonderful human and non-human characters. In addition to the screen printed sleeve, on the back are some comics panels by Modlin as well.

6 pages, double-sided 10" x 5.25", and extended 2ft 7.5".  Available from this new Risograph publisher Perfectly Acceptable Press ( 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Romano Hanno, Worte machen das Unendliche endlich (Words Make the Infinite Finite), Basel: Romani Hanni, 2008. [Edition 290]

A really fascinating accordion by this book artist and typographer who was born in Switzerland in 1956. The title is apt for a work that is totally abstract and reflects Hanni's desire to reach the 'infinite' beyond the limitations of words, indeed in a statement on his web site about this work he says:

Although language can be explanatory, only signs and symbols evoke notions. They are capable of simultaneously incorporating all levels of human existence. Reaching down to the unfathomable depths of the soul grow their roots. Like a gentle breeze, language only touches the surface of understanding. Words make the infinite finite, signs and symbols carry off the spirit into the realms of the infinite world of being. They evoke notions, are signs of the unspeakable and are equally inexhaustible. 

Without signs or symbols, even the most modern of world views becomes impoverished. The division of soul and spirit has much to do with Gutenberg's invention. For the sake of the modern, supposedly unnecessary yet reliable and irreplaceable things are often sacrificed. Access to signs and symbols could lead to peace of mind in which all unconscious is not anxiously blocked out and avoided but embraced as a way of expanding consciousness. In this manner, the spirit could find a way out of self-isolation in which it is held captive by its unconditional worship of science and technology. 

There's a nice tension and balance created amongst the assorted geometric elements in this work, and coupled with small abstracted animals making appearances here and there across the work you have a bookwork that really leaves it largely up to the imagination of the viewer to interpret it as s/he desires. 

10 pages with individual pages at 4.75 x 3.25, handprinted in 4 colors, and extended it measures 2ft 8.5".

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ginger R. Burrell, Sandy Hook, 2013. [edition 100]

A moving and well crafted accordion book that is a tribute to the 20 children between the ages of 6 & 7 as well as 6 adult staff, whose lives were cut short by another American terrorist with a military assault rifle on December 14, 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut.

In a statement on her website Burrell addresses how she came up with the format and images for the book:

"In thinking about how to represent the children and school staff who were killed, I settled on the idea of using teddy bears for the children and apples for the adults. After spending several days purchasing individual bears and apples, I began taking the school portraits. It got harder and harder as I worked on the book; and taking the group photo left me in tears. I can't help but think of all the group photos those children will never be in: graduation, weddings, and countless family portraits. The photos are laid out in yearbook style and feature the name, birth dates and death dates for each person killed." 

12 pages at 13" x 4.5" and extended 4ft 6inches.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Bea Nettles, The Fig Leaf, Urbana, Illinois, 2010. [edition 17]

A spunky and humorous little accordion booklet exploring the history of the fig leaf, the idea for which arose when Nettles spent time in Italy and "...became curious about the use of the fig leaf...". This playful accordion is the result, although I frankly don't know how to read the final image but the suggestion seems to be that someone has been nibbling at forbidden fruit! 

Along the bottom of the images is the following text: "The fig leaves that we see on Greek and Roman torsos were added to them after the Council of Trent and a 1557 edict from Pope Paul IV. Having been firmly attached to these existing sculptures, they continue to cling to them to this very day."

8 pages 3.75" x 2.5", opened 1ft 8"

Bea Nettles, 14 Mysteries, Urbana, Illinois, 2012. [open edition]

This is just a gem of an artists' book, and integral to the work is its accordion format. Underneath the 14 keys and for the whole length of the work is the following text, "These keys were found in a cluster when we moved here in 1984. Their purposes have long been forgotten. After twenty-two years they hang on a hook in the basement. One never knows when their role in our house will be revealed." 

14 pages at 3.5" x 1.5" and opened 1' 9"

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sjoed Knibbeler, Paper Planes, Fw: Books, 2015

This accordion comes in a beautifully made folder and the work is made up of photographs of 16 folded paper planes that are based upon drawings & diagrams for planes that were never actually manufactured. Photographed in a studio setting the 'planes' appear to have a substance and presence that is at odds with their reality. On the reverse side of the images are texts that describe the name, date and country of origin, as well as information about the design and history of each plane. This is a really fascinating conceptual accordion bookwork!

19 single pages at 8.25" x 11.75", and fully opened 13ft 0.75".

Each plane design has annotations and a short history on the back.