BOOKBINDING IN THE 21 st CENTURY The importance of the meaning of words, of history, of ideas and of bookbindings similarities to and differences from other art forms. Developing bookbinding as a medium of artistic expression and conserving bindings as works of art.
HISTORY The 21 st century! Here at last! Some looked forward to it with apprehension; others wondered what the future would bring. Were caught up in a wave thats carrying us towards new horizons. How can we transmit, from the past into the future, the culture of the book: the book inseparable from its cover, which protects and embellishes it? Can we imagine bookbinding becoming widely recognized as a creative art form, and bindings being conserved just like other works of art? Lets take a brief look at the major steps in the history of the evolution of books and bookbinding.
WRITING The history of writing begins somewhere between 9000 and 4000 B.C., when images were used to make pictographs or pictograms, representing the physical world, as well as ideograms, that is, symbols representing ideas.
Between 3000 and 2000 B.C., various materials wood, stone, baked clay tablets, silk, etc. were used to preserve and communicate written texts. TOOLS AND MATERIALS Papyrus rolls, characteristic of ancient Egypt, were replaced in the 3 rd and 4 th centuries A.D. by parchment, made from animal skins, named for the city of Pergamon in Asia Minor. Finally, paper was invented by the Chinese about 105 A.D. Its use gradually spread, following the Silk Route, and it appeared in the West towards the end of the Middle Ages. Due to its low cost, it became the most-used medium for writing.
THE SCRIBE The Egyptian scribe was a powerful figure. With the art of writing, history was born, placing events in chronological order. The invention of printing made the handwritten manuscript obsolete. The profession of scribe fell into disuse and virtually disappeared. A vestige remains today in the art of the calligrapher, but even calligraphy is threatened by computer science.
DIFFERENT FORMS OF THE BOOK The folding book as developed by the Chinese, and the volumina or volumen, that is, the papyrus scroll, were predominant up until the arrival of the codex between the 2 nd and 4 th century A.D. The codex replaced the volumen. The book was no longer a continuous roll, but rather a set of leaves attached together at the back. This form is so efficient that, over 1500 years after it first appeared, it still remains that of the book as we know it today. When the codex originated, its pages, attached together, were protected by a sheet of parchment. This was how the book was bound.
THE BIRTH OF BOOKBINDING But the art of bookbinding was really born in the monasteries of the 15 th century, when manuscripts were adorned with massive and luxurious covers, destined for display on a tabletop or in the pulpit. The end of the Middle Ages witnessed the arrival of printing and the widespread manufacture of paper, which had become the main material for writing. This is the moment when the techniques and materials of the craft of bookbinding, as we know it today, first appeared.
THE BIRTH OF BOOKBINDING For four centuries, the history of bookbinding would be above all a history of styles and ideas and of the characteristics which were distinctive of this art and which brought it into relationship with others. There were cultural movements, fashions and trends influenced by the decorative arts, for example, or by the Industrial Revolution, which brought on changes from the time printing appeared and engraving techniques developed. The French Revolution was a catalyst for radical innovations in style: bookbinding took on political meaning, with an egalitarian identity. Artifice and ostentation were replaced by an austere style of great simplicity.
THE BIRTH OF INDUSTRIAL BOOKBINDING Industrial bookbinding started in Germany and quickly spread to the Anglo-Saxon nations. France resisted industrialization for a few decades. In the mid-19 th century, the craft bookbinder was at the bottom of the hierarchy in the world of books, employed by the printers and booksellers. As the Industrial Revolution progressed, inexpensive books were mass- produced and were no longer marketed in the form of stitched-together signatures, as had been the general practice, but rather in machine-made bindings. As a result, in many countries the traditional craft of hand bookbinding gradually disappeared.
THE BIRTH OF INDUSTRIAL BOOKBINDING In 20 th -century France, fine bookbinding and the binding of artbooks continue to be done by hand, often under the direction of a designer who coordinates the work of the bookbinder and that of the gilder who does the gold tooling. Bibliophiles who collect rare books or limited editions of artists or painters want bookbinders to create unique bindings to enshrine their treasures. It seems that the bookbinder as a craftsperson is gradually being replaced by the bookbinder as an artist.
In 1981, I attended a symposium in Ghent, Belgium, organized by August Kulche, at which over 250 bookbinders from 14 countries were present. I like to recall a question that was raised by Faith Shannon, one of the invited speakers. It influenced my own professional development. Ms. Shannon touched on a point that was often debated not only among bookbinders but also by collectors and aficionados who, looking at certain works, would say, Faith Shannon remarked that only rarely had she heard the question, THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM
The last twenty years of the millennium were fruitful ones thanks to initiatives on the part of associations of devoted bookbinders and booklovers who were passionate about their work. This period was also marked by the massive arrival of women into the profession, who were interested in bookbinding less as a handicraft than as a medium of artistic expression. To me, this view of bookbinding as the creation of unique and inspired works represents a positive and legitimate perspective. A book bound with sensitivity and understanding takes on the rarity and individuality of a work of art. The technical skill involved remains an important but secondary element in the critical appreciation of the artwork.
THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM Designer Bookbinders, a contemporary book arts association founded over fifty years ago in the UK, moves forward into the 21 st Century having achieved its fundamental objectives of promoting, maintaining and improving the standards of design and craft in hand bookbinding by means of exhibitions, teaching and publications.
THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM The Bibliotheca Wittockiana in Brussels is a museum of bookbinding which for over 25 years has housed the collection of Michel Wittock, a bibliophile who was a great lover of fine bindings. This remarkable museum is also a documentation centre on bookbinding as well as an exhibit site for books and bookbinding. Its activities highlighting contemporary binding reveal the talent of current practitioners.
THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM In 1984, an organization known as the ARA (Les Amis de la Reliure dArt or the friends of art bookbinding) was founded in France by Marcel Garigou. Its aim was to make fine bookbinding better known and appreciated by a larger public. Over the years Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Italy and Spain joined in. At the same time, other groups sprang up in several countries to bring bookbinders together through organizing meetings and exhibitions. In 1996, the 5 th edition of FIRA, the international forum of fine bookbinding, took place in Montreal, following which the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, the provincial government library, adopted an acquisition policy for fine bindings in order to recognize the art and assure its conservation.
THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM Since 1983, the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG) has worked to support the development of the book arts. The Guild brings together craftspeople in the fields of bookbinding, artists' books, papermaking, calligraphy, letterpress printing & typography, wood engraving, paper decorating, restoration and conservation, in order to encourage contacts and foster a spirit of cooperation.
THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM In 1994 an organization known as AIR NEUF was set up by nine friends who were bookbinders from various countries. Its purpose was to stimulate reflection, innovation and creativity in looking forward to the bookbinding of the future.
THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM A significant step in the recognition of the art of fine binding was taken by the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris, the historical library of the City of Paris, under the direction of Jean Derens, in setting aside a space exclusively devoted to bookbinding.
THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM The Librairie Blaizot, which has just celebrated 170 years of existence, has been a strong supporter of creative bookbinding.
THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM Since 1891, the magazine known as Art et Métiers du Livre (book arts and crafts) has promoted bookbinding, studied its history and featured beautiful bindings and the artists who created them. Its the only magazine in the world specializing in bookbinding, printmaking and the book arts and continues to flourish in the 21 st century.
THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM During this period associations of bookbinders were being set up in developed countries from the United Kingdom and North America to Australia, Japan and the Baltic States, organizing events, courses, exhibitions and meetings. Ill call this period the transition, the evolution, the growth of awareness or the reflection leading to the emancipation of the bookbinder, of fine bookbinding and of bookbinding as an artistic medium.
THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM From now on well speak of the artist who has chosen the book as the medium in which he or she creates as the BOOK ARTIST. In this new perspective, the craft-bookbinder will specialize in restoration and the preservation of our print heritage. His CHALLENGE will be to acquire not only a knowledge of chemistry but also cultural and technical knowledge of art history and the history of the book.
THE LAST TWENTY YEARS OF THE MILLENIUM As for the artist-bookbinder, he or she will have to master art history and the history of the book and their study of bookbinding will take place in a university setting as is already the case in several countries. But bookbinders have not necessarily adjusted to this new context
A BREAK WITH THE PAST In the 1990s, a break with the past occurred as the arrival of hypertext technology brought ever greater access to information. The encoding of written texts, still and moving images and sound in a single and simple form, through the medium of the screen, is without doubt an invention as important as that of writing itself. The Internet reduces the costs of production and distribution just as printing did at the end of the Middle Ages.
THE 21 st CENTURY The 21 st century has already seen the introduction of electronic-book technologies like Googles Reader and Amazons Kindle.
THE 21 st CENTURY Its hard to predict what the future of the book will be; but in 2010 there were an estimated 130 million titles inventoried. The printed book wont disappear overnight. We can hope that the codex form will survive for texts requiring sustained reading. The electronic book in fact confers a new meaning and value upon its paper counterpart that weve known for centuries.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON THE 21 st CENTURY AND ITS FUTURE Its certainly not the first time in history that the bookbinder has faced a new CHALLENGE. Any number of works on the subject tell of other critical moments when practitioners of the craft seemed trapped by circumstance. This may be the critical moment to reinvent the bookbinders art and craft and develop them in modern and contemporary ways, adopting new approaches to artistic binding. The book, which industrial printing and binding made into an everyday artifact, can become something unique as Reader and Kindle proliferate.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON THE 21 st CENTURY AND ITS FUTURE The book will again become a special object for which fine binding and art binding will propose rich veins of interpretation. The books surprising destiny will take it beyond the walls of the library, as the meditations of 21 st -century bookbinders dwell on the book as the nucleus of an environment rendering homage to its character as a work of art. Witnessing the book set forth, as it were, to reconquer its own particular identity, its urgent that we underscore its dimension as a work of art and that we cultivate its unique formal and material capacities as a
THE FUTURE In creating bindings destined to take the book beyond the walls of the library to a new space, the gallery, whose walls, columns, floors and furnishings are designed to stimulate reflection on the book as the nucleus of an environment rendering homage to its character as a work of art. In identifying bookbinding as a unique and full-fledged form of visual art and emphasizing the new meaning taken on by the bound book itself in the digital age.
THE FUTURE In resituating the art of bookbinding without negating its traditional role of fashioning books in accordance with established principles, in order to facilitate their reading. In constantly renewing the practice of bookbinding, which must evolve just as the book itself evolves, in order to remain current, contemporary and never outmoded. In finding ways to develop and disseminate a new dynamic and reach more people who love books and reading.
WHY BIND BOOKS? Nourishing our mind and soul with a book enriches us. But binding a book to make it more beautiful, give it a longer life or make it attractive to those around us is already a good reason justifying our determination.
WHY BIND BOOKS? The book world is like a jungle running in all directions… or like a series of highways with countless exits that are so many roads to knowledge… miles of shelves, farther than the eye can see, packed with yesterdays books, todays books and empty spaces waiting for tomorrows books. More than ever, all those books are waiting to be chosen and bound. After which theyll feel more appreciated!
WHAT TO BIND? Tomorrows book, more than ever, must be bound. Its up to us, bookbinders whove taken the step into the 21 st century, to find the road that will bring our work to the gallery and the museum.
HOW TO BIND IT ? Binding a book requires that we make it our own by reading it and reflecting on it, and then find a way to bind it that measures up to the beauty of the text, the images, the typography, the design, the paper: recognizing that the book has claims on us in terms of rights, duties and objectives. We legitimize our work by establishing a complicity with the book and furthering its objectives.
WHO DECIDES HOW TO BIND IT? Bookbinding in the 21 st century will be an independent art form requiring a high level of knowledge of the book and a demanding formal training: As bookbinding evolves, many will be called but few chosen. Those who can express themselves in this art and be satisfied with it will find fulfillment.
WHO DECIDES HOW TO BIND IT? There are so many paths opening before us: millions of books that cry out for our skills and creativity to transform them into unique works of art. Its up to us to find the path that suits us. The choice is enormous. Its important to realize what a privilege it is for us to find ourselves in the midst of all this technological progress and, at the same time, possess the culture of the past. We have to grasp the significance of it and accept the responsibility, even the duty, that it implies to insure the transmission of the historical and technical knowledge we possess.
A NEW MODUS OPERANDI Its a basic requirement for being a bookbinder. Spend some time on research and experimentation. Explore new subjects and new materials. Use the technologies you already know to open up other fields for exploration and creativity. Study the history of bookbinding; discover the strengths of our predecessors. Find their weaknesses and try to improve on their techniques. Avoid compromise. Share your knowledge, remembering that the more you give, the more you receive.
AND THE DREAM… Bindings for lovers of books and literature, for bibliophiles, for artists books and painters books. Books bound by readers who become creators, enhancing the essence and the soul of the book. The collector or, should we say will be prepared to spend a fair amount of money to acquire the work he wants. The simple fact of knowing hell love it and give it a privileged place in the world he inhabits will be a source of great joy to you, the artist-binder.
20 th CENTURY INNOVATORS There are a few great names which have marked the history of bookbinding in the 20 th century: pioneers who innovated and experimented at the risk of upsetting old habits and, at times perhaps, of shocking certain sensibilities. Ill name some of them and try to characterize their contribution in a few words. Their work and their history is well documented. Decorative flower forms.
20 th CENTURY INNOVATORS Design by ruler and compass. An outstanding female figure of her period. The dream of every bookbinder: have only one client. Dynamic and inventive.
20 th CENTURY INNOVATORS Took bookbinding beyond the studio in assuming the CHALLENGE of defending a doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne, a unique and remarkable achievement. He accompanied me in my research and in my work. The gift of renewal. An extraordinary partnership between an artist-bookbinder and a craft bookbinder.
20 th CENTURY INNOVATORS In the tradition of Henri Mercher. Research and INNOVATION. Innovator who breaks down walls. Free and indomitable.
I pay homage to all the artists whove inspired me throughout my career., a remarkable bookbinder and visionary. He succeeded in passing on his knowledge to his son. I was at his studio in the rue Viscomti in The teaching at the Mercher studio revealed to me a refined approach uniting great flexibility with severe discipline. HOMAGE, whose 1973 work Through the Looking-Glass sparked my desire to create outside of traditional patterns
Seventeen bindings by, displayed at the Bibliothèque Nationale de Frances 1977 Sonia et Robert Delaunay exhibit: innovative abstract works which didnt separate the object and the work of art. She thrilled me., light in texture and in black. He showed me the art of black., Concerning the Spiritual in Art, There is no must in art because art is free. Art flees from must like day from night. HOMAGE
Bruges, May 2011 Text of a talk presented in May 2011 at the X th International Forum of Fine Bookbinding in Bruges, Belgium Odette Drapeau, RCA Book artist
LA RELIURE AU XXI ÈME SIÈCLE – DÉFI - INNOVATION 1.Ancien : action de défier en un combat singulier 2.Action de défier quelquun à un jeu, à une compétition : lancer un défi Accepter, relever un défi : y répondre à Mettre quelquun au défi (+ inf) : le défier de faire quelque chose 3.Refus, parfois inconsidéré, de se soumettre, attitude insolente, bravade 4.Problème, difficulté que pose une situation et que lon doit surmonter (le défi des mutations technologiques) Le Petit Larousse DÉFI INNOVATION 1.Action dinnover, dinventer. De créer qqchose de nouveau 2.Ce qui est nouveau, création (des innovations techniques) INNOVER Introduire qqchose de nouveau dans un domaine particulier
LA RELIURE AU XXI ÈME SIÈCLE – DÉFI - INNOVATION 1.Provocation à un combat singulier – porter un défi 2.Déclaration provocatrice par laquelle on exprime à quelquun quon le juge hors détat de faire quelque chose Le Littré DÉFI INNOVATION Action dinnover, dinventer, résultat de cette action
LA RELIURE AU XXI ÈME SIÈCLE – DÉFI - INNOVATION 1.Fait de défier ; invitation au combat 2.Fait de provoquer qqchose. Mettre qqn au défi de (+ inf.) 3.Refus de se soumettre. - bravade, provocation – cest un défi au bon sens. Le Petit Robert DÉFI INNOVATION Fait dinnover ; chose nouvelle. – création, découverte, invention. INNOVER Introduire du nouveau (dans un domaine)
LA RELIURE AU XXI ÈME SIÈCLE – DÉFI - INNOVATION Merriam Webster Dictionary CHALLENGE INNOVATION 1.A summons that is often threatening, provocative, stimulating, or inciting 2.A stimulating task or problem 1.The introduction of something new 2.A new idea, method, or device
LA RELIURE AU XXI ÈME SIÈCLE – DÉFI - INNOVATION 1.De handeling van het uitdagen. 2.Zaak, daad of uiting die prikkelt tot een reactie. Van Dale Groot Woordenboek van de Nederlandse Taal UITDAGING INNOVATIE Invoering van iets nieuws. INNOVEREN Als nieuwigheid invoeren, vernieuwen.
Textes Odette Drapeau Traduction en anglais Kevin Cohalan Conception et infographie Yvon Beaudin (www.yvonbeaudin.com) Crédits
Justification des images Photos dOdette Drapeau par Philippe Jasmin. Musique : composition/interprétation : Alexendra Stréliski, ouverture : « Prélude », fermeture : « Le Départ ». Histoire Michel de Nostradamus. Médecin prophète français Calendrier Maya. Lécriture Idéogramme et pictogrammes. Lécriture Support de lécriture : argile, cire, papyrus, papier, la route de la soie. Le Scribe Le scribe au Moyen Âge. Le scribe accroupi. Le scribe kaninisout, un genou plié. La forme du livre Le livre en parchemin. Le codex. Le rouleau.
Justification des images Naissance du livre Labbaye de Saint Benoît du Lac (Canada). Labbaye Cystercien de Senanque (France). Le Monastère suspendu, Xuankong sur la route entre Pékin et Xian (Chine). Naissance de la reliure Reliure du XVI ème siècle. Reliure du XVII ème siècle. Reliure du XVIII ème siècle. Bonnet phrygien. Naissance de la reliure industrielle La production de masse. Latelier de production. Léquipement. Naissance de la reliure industrielle Les Éditions Hetzel, fin XIX ème siècle : reliures réalisées en percaline et communément appelées « cartonnage polychrome Hetzel ». Jules Verne, « Le Voyage Extraordinaire ». Jules Verne, « Le tour du monde en 80 jours ». Jules Verne, « Lîle mystérieuse ».
Justification des images Les vingt dernières années du millénaire Reliure de Faith Shannon. De Raymond Briggs, « The Snowman ». Faith Shannon, lartiste. Reliure de Faith Shannon. De Georges Maw, « Genus Crocus », Les vingt dernières années du millénaire. Trois reliures dOdette Drapeau. 7 artistes x 7 relieurs, « 7x7 ». Photo David Knut, BAC. De Nane Couzier, « Noirs, Bleus, Sables ». Photo Pierre Perrault, BanQ. De Nane Couzier, « Du Coin de lŒil ». Photo Christian Biron. Les vingt dernières années du millénaire. Reliure de Philip Smith. « Six Fairy Tales », gravures de David Hockney. Reliure de Jeff Clements. « The critic as artist » de Oscar Wilde. Les vingt dernières années du millénaire Biblioteca Wittockiana. Vue de jour. Vue de nuit. Salle dexposition.
Justification des images Les vingt dernières années du millénaire Catalogues. FIRA Montréal, FIRA Bâle, FIRA Grèce, FIRA Luxembourg, Les vingt dernières années du millénaire Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG) Journal 2007 Maîtres de la Reliure dArt, une exposition itinérante internationale de reliures dart par les membres de la German Masters Guild, organisée et diffusée par le CBBAG. Book Arts arts du livre Canada. Les vingt dernières années du millénaire AIR NEUF Catalogues. Air neuf prend des couleurs à la Wittockiana, Air neuf à Mariemont, DOr et dArgent à la BHVP, Les vingt dernières années du millénaire Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris. Salle dexposition. Salle de lecture.
Justification des images Les vingt dernières années du millénaire LIBRAIRIE BLAIZOT, Faubourgs St-Honoré. Vue de lintérieur, Les vingt dernières années du millénaire Art et Métiers du Livre. Numéro 107 mai Numéro 194 novembre décembre Numéro 256 octobre novembre Numéro 282 janvier février 2011 Les vingt dernières années du millénaire Catalogues dexposition : Bel Libre 2003, Suisse. Scripta Manent IV 2011, Estonie. Book Kniga 2001, Lithuanie. Les vingt dernières années du millénaire La restauration et la conservation du patrimoine. Avant Pendant Après
Justification des images Les vingt dernières années du millénaire Trois reliures dOdette Drapeau. De Patricia Smart, « Les Femmes du Refus Global ». Photo David Knut. De Lewis Carroll, « Le Frelon à perruque, un chapitre inédit de lautre côté du miroir ». Photo Odette Drapeau. De Paul Wenz, « Charley, Jim and Jack ». Photo Yvon Beaudin. La rupture « Du papyrus à lhypertexte », Christian Vanderhorpe aux Éditions Boréal. Le XXI ème siècle Le Kindle Le livre électronique. Le XXI ème siècle « Le Jardin de la connaissance », Thilo Folkerts de 100 landschaftsarchitektur & Rodney Latourelle, Berlin/Allemagne, Germany De Laure Adler et Stefan Rollmann, Les Femmes qui lisent sont dangereuses aux éditions Flammarion 2006
Justification des images Un nouveau regard sur le XXI ème siècle et son future « Le Livre de lAn 3000 ». Installation livre commémorant le nouveau millénaire, réalisée par Odette Drapeau et Alena Prochaska, architecte, dans le cadre des projets du millénaire du Conseil des Arts du Canada. Photo Odette Drapeau. Le futur Installations dOdette Drapeau. Installation à la BHVP en Photo Odette Drapeau. Installation à la Galerie Materia (Québec) en Photo Louis Audet. Le futur Trois reliures dOdette Drapeau. De Zuvies Oda, « Koliazas Popierius », Photo Pierre Perrault. Un texte de Robert Marteau, des gravures de Pierre Henry, « LÉtoile dans la Vitre ». Photo Yvon Beaudin. De Georges Pialloux, « Maurice Ravel Le Basque ». Photo Odette Drapeau. Pourquoi les relier ? Échangeur Turcot à Montréal.
Justification des images Comment le relier ? Trois reliures dOdette Drapeau. De Hans Jurgen Greif, « Orfeo », Photo Yvon Beaudin. De France Mongeau, « Lumières », Photo Pierre Perrault, BANQ. De Rainer Maria Rilke, « Lettre à une Musicienne », Photo Yvon Beaudin. Qui doit choisir comment le relier ? Deux reliures dOdette Drapeau. De Veljo Tormis et Lauldud Sona, « The word was Sung », Photo Yvon Beaudin. De Claude Haeffely, « Tout est FAUX cest le paradis », Claude Haeffely,1994. Photo Guy Borremans. Reliure de Josée Dessureault. De Diderot, illustré par Naudin, « Le Neveu de Rameau » Photo Yvon Beaudin. Les innovateurs du XX ème siècle Reliure de Marius Michel, Les innovateurs du XX ème siècle Reliure de Pierre Legrain. Reliure de Paul Bonnet. Reliure de Rose Adler.
Justification des images Les innovateurs du XX ème siècle Reliure de Roger Devauchelle Reliure de Germaine de Coster et Hélène Dumas Reliure de Georges Leroux Les innovateurs du XX ème siècle Reliure de Philip Smith. Reliure de Daniel Knoderer. Reliure de Jean de Gonet. Hommage Reliure dHenri Mercher. Reliure de Faith Shannon Hommage Sonia Delaunay. Pierre Soulages. Kandinsky, « Du Spirituel dans lArt et dans la peinture en particulier », 1910.