The New Alexandrian Library Boekie Collection - Additions - Theresa Williams (USA) - The Ragpicker and Torma Cauli (Hungary)

Theresa wrote a note which accompanied her beautiful book - which I really appreciate.  I know post modernism allows us free reign interpretation, but sometimes I think manners disappear in that wake. I always remain intensely curious about the first voice - the voice of the author/artist.

Theresa writes that she was excited to see I was interested in the idea of the flaneur (as is she) and this book takes from that theme.  "So the book starts out with Baudelaire.  The image is taken from a paper doll of Baudelaire... (he) wrote a poem about the "rag picker"... the person who collects rags and trash to use or sell"

The inside images are of Theresa and her husband taken on a two month float down the Ohio River in 2005.  

Poems are printed on tissue paper - poems which came out of that journey - the flimsy surface a reminder "of how fragile and fleeting the imagination is". The transparent words also jog our impressions of transience - that our stroll through this life will be ephemeral.  Others will see through us to what has gone before. May they see well.

Theresa writes that "a lot of writers are looking for immortality through their writing" - artists too I think. But the band plays on and new dancers take the stage where we once moved.

"The back image represents a sort of tapestry that is life, the strings escaping and merging with eternity.  So it isn't the art or writing that is eternal. Its just the ego."

A poem from this book:

pomeroy, the venice of ohio

there are no crossroads in popery, just

one long street winding beside the ohio

river like a ribbon.  evening bells chime

just as i am.  brick buildings teeter on

cracked foundations, exhale the collected

heat of the day.  here people walk on but

a sliver of land.  at the laundromat, a

woman folds baby clothes and an old man sneaks

about, feeling inside the machines for lost

coins.  she glances up.

a smile

hands flying up

to hide her teeth

Theresa - a beautiful addition - many many thanks :-).

From Torma Cauli (Hungary)

An interesting layered double fold. It is difficult to tell from the photographs, but the tactile nature of this palimpsest is a delight.

Using double imaging, the thinnest of collage fragments and then reprinting/overwriting, Torma has built up a document that is - and is not the sum total of its ancestry. 

Final saturated page:

MANY thanks XX

From Nadine, well known to most of us here at IUOMA comes a perfectly delightful book on key-hole people - those distorted eyeball views of the unwanteds who INSIST on ringing your apartment doorbell at the most inopportune times  - the PERFECT reasons to get your doorbell disconnected - as I confess I've done :-) - even Nadine's envelope is beautifully drawn in her irrepressible, gorgeous style.

The note inside the book informs the reader that these are ink-blow drawings. I cant believe the control Nadine has over the ink - and this little horror - o, I know one of them too...  he also came with a stick and lopped the top off EVERY ONE of of the aggapanthas (sp?) lining the driveway - the little boy who pinches your cat...

Then the creep you may have dated YEARS ago - who has found you, and wants to continue his creepy prior relationship arrangement with you - wwwhhhhaaaatttt??? Doesn't he know you grew brains (hopefully!) - how ssmmmoooth does this guy look :-)))! 

And your cousin - now 45 "still loyal to goth and always needs rent money" - Nadine captures the facial essence of these characters in such a skilled manner - its all in the eyes the more I look.

There's the two strangers, covered in blood asking to use a phone, the 3am doorbell ring that wakes you out of REM with a SKRIK! "3am.  Isn't it a bit late for a delivery"? And o - the best one... your drunk, soon to be ex-best girlfriend who has boyfriend troubles. She's come to bleed her permanent mascara all over your new silk cushions and keep you awake in the realization you need to get a new flat... where best friends don't know your apartment doorbell number.

Nadine - this is SUCH a beautiful little book - MANY thanks - I'm taking your warnings seriously, installing camera's and being even MORE careful about who I open up to!!!

From Janine Weiss - I'm calling this assembly of fragments Out on a Limb - taking the title from the cover page.

Collaged and sewn fragments are re-presented on some really old book paper, and Janine has taken care to ensure that the imposed collage is appropriately selected to enhance this medium. Old Masters peep out of  torn and splintered text. 

Women and children seem to be the main subject matter focus - this is definitely a very feminine book with images, color and fabric selections echoing the words of one of her pages - A woman must stay at home - emphasizing that although this is a feminine book, Janine stresses that she is not friend of feminism - but, is she joking? Yes - there was clarification in the comments :-) - thank you Janine X

Plant a victory garden - it will stand you in good stead.  After careful 'reading' I can see there was careful selection of all the visual elements that went into Janine's book.  Even thought the rabbit (is it Alice's?) is green, Janine's is pink. 

Janine - MANY thanks - I know this was ALOT of hard work and careful thought - I hope you like what I have made for you - its going in the mail this week :-) X

And  finally:

This is a quick visual inclusion of 1/2 edition of a book made by Svetalana of FLUXRUS  (Russia).  It is a documentation of artists books which were exhibited at the  ARTBOOK exhibition held 15 - 18 March this year.

Svetlana - I know the WORK involved in setting up exhibitions, so to get this gift done in the aftermath - THANK YOU!


I've been waiting for this one. Mostly patiently because, well, as ANY of you know who have received Nancy's work, it exceeds expectations. 

Tucked away, inside an almost glass pocket lie these words:

Enharmony – Expressing sounds having the same pitch but written (text fades…) but Found Sound NEVER fades. Notes lengthen and brighten, taking on surrounding color as the sun gleams on pages building crescendo's. You know what found sound looks like. 

I heard,

Even as I saw,

The beauty of the notes.

You KNOW the sound of beautifully crafted pages turning. The sound of paint sighing with gentle contentment  to be living where it exists in harmony with materials entangled in its color. ? This is that book. Where music lives visually. 

This is a work of poco p. (Somewhat soft), juxtaposed with Fortissimo (loud). Not clanging, just perfectly visual.

And close up? Its no different. It just gets deeper. And deeper. The tones collide.

All accessible  art is easy to enjoy, whether it be music, literature or visual. When all three are contained in on volume, the whole world  takes up its tune. Semi-tones may apply in Music, but this book?  it holds perfect time. 


Another beautiful book enters the library. This time from Carina Granlund from Finland. 

That’s SO FAR AWAY – and there, Three Whales Flew.  Well, it began like that Carina says, but it ended up sort of a personal ‘nonsense book – a book of trash’. Trash?? I have instructions also, which came with this volume:

“You are free to cut/rip out and recycle material from here to make your own artwork” – MAYBE!! I’ll see. It heading towards the more maybe not. And each time I page through, more certainty is added to my view. These pages belong together - exactly like this.

 There is a quirky array of STUFF in this book – tags and rags,  and slips and bits and ugly fish.   Its always interesting to see the WAY different artists arrange their work. I use quirky in the best possible sense as Carina’s work has a sense of humor, is completely eclectic and boasts a gallimaufry of collection points. 

Carina references MANY things including Magritte-ish type elements into her work. Its sort of a workbook - on this open-out page I am instructed to cut out my own favorite - I think it may have to be a kuuluva (WOT???) because it looks a bit like a minx-thing-ishy. 

I mentioned the ugly fish? There's also a fortune-telling fish in this volume, but the ugly fish sits next to a fine point copy of a drawing by Carina's mother, done in 1952 which features the Lux Soap Girl.  

And one of my favorite pages - although I confess the more I look the more I like :-)

If any of you ever come visit, and you wash your hands, you can look at my books. They are such a joy all these gifts.  Carina even told me about some metallic paint she bought- always thinking they were not her style. But now? "But now I have bought bronze, silver and gold. I love them. But what shall I do with them? Don't know."

Carina, there are MANY wonderful pages in this book. A HUGE thank you - OF COURSE I'm SWOPPING MORE BOOKS WITH YOU!!! :-)))))! XX


Toccata and Fugue for Book by TICTAC.  I think Bach’s (challenged) Toccata and Fugue in D Minor must be one of the most well known pieces of organ music.  It has been played in MANY movies, including Fantasia and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

But this is no organ performance piece. This is a book work.   ‘Toccata’ from the Italian – to touch is an apposite word for this beautiful book created from cardboard.  Toccata also intimates fast moving, lightly fingered passages.  This is TICTAC’s EXACT treatment of the filigreed card.

Fugue – a technique which indicates two or more voices. I’m likening TICTAC’s material usage to  this word. Cardboard and acetate are the main mediums of this work. 

PLUS, without getting too technical, fugues also consist of connecting passages (episodes) and a  coda.  Conceptually, how much closer can one combine music terms and books than this?

And from Alicia Starr? Another treasure. A Tribute to the Life and Work of Ana Mendieta (1948 – 1985). 

Ana Medieta said "My art is the way I reestablish the bonds that unite me to the universe."  I best know of her work from theSilueta Series which she did in the 70’s, but Alicia actually met Ana Mendieta in 1975.  Alicia writes “ Ana had an uncanny and powerful passion.  Her work sang of feminism, humanity, culture, personal identity and nature”.

Made from beautifully crafted organic ‘paper’ (banana/palm leaves Alicia?) Alicia Remembers Ana in a book work which materially evokes all the sentiments she expresses by her words. The hand of the artist as a print.

The cover of Alicia’s book carries a quote by Joy Harjo “No story or song will translate the full impact of falling,, or the inverse power of rising up”.  How fully I understand that.

 To all the artists who have – and continue to contribute to this collection of books – I appreciate the generosity and spirit of bigheartedness that accompanies your gifts. Its quite overwhelming actually.




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Comment by cheryl penn on July 24, 2012 at 5:39pm

O yes - I wanted to say - 'object poems'- interesting thought. Exhibiting these objects is FRAUGHT - everyone WANTS to touch them, but I have learnt through bitter experience that not everyone is careful with them.  At openings people drink AND eat greasy sausage rolls while paging through work which has taken MONTHS!!! I could POP!! Now its a NO TOUCHING experience.  

Comment by cheryl penn on July 24, 2012 at 5:36pm

I think I understand Janine to say that everything from our hearts, no matter how old, never gathers dust - and thats true - wounds or joy may fade, but dust - nope.  Janine - you handle English in a beautiful way - if I could French 1/8 as well I'd count myself lucky!! Nancy - do you REALLY want to see :-))?? I'll show you during and after the exhibition - at the moment I am so betwixt I don't even feel like I'm living in the right place!!! But thats just life - its heating up - all the electrons are excited for some reason. Carina - great to 'see' you again - DVS - you beat me to it!! Angie :-) XX

Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 24, 2012 at 2:39pm

What I like about a lot of these pieces is that they are object poems. You really have to touch them and interact with them to have the full experience. I know there are practical reasons why, but it runs counter to libraries or galleries where you're taught the more important a book is, the less you are allowed to touch it.

What's "everything's coming up dusty"?

Comment by Carina on July 24, 2012 at 8:56am

These books are deep and I can feel the healing of them, saying that with risk of banality..

Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on July 24, 2012 at 4:19am

You express very very well, Janine. You come across just fine in English! I especially like your "are not dusty" reference to the books as coming from hearts.

Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on July 23, 2012 at 11:25pm

" live a life which makes art inevitable"--that cuts right to it, doesn't it? The inevitability of some things is a relief. And others, not. Art? Yeah. Very good and different books by Theresa and by Torma Cauli; and also earlier ones I had missed (Nadine, for one!). Maybe one day Cheryl will show us where all these books are living at the moment. She'll kill me for saying that. :--}

Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 23, 2012 at 9:02pm

The Baudelaire is pretty good too:

The Ragpickers' Wine



In the muddy maze of some old neighborhood,
Often, where the street lamp gleams like blood,
As the wind whips the flame, rattles the glass,
Where human beings ferment in a stormy mass,

One sees a ragpicker knocking against the walls,
Paying no heed to the spies of the cops, his thralls,
But stumbling like a poet lost in dreams;
He pours his heart out in stupendous schemes.

He takes great oaths and dictates sublime laws,
Casts down the wicked, aids the victims' cause;
Beneath the sky, like a vast canopy,
He is drunken of his splendid qualities.

Yes, these people, plagued by household cares,
Bruised by hard work, tormented by their years,
Each bent double by the junk he carries,
The jumbled vomit of enormous Paris,—

They come back, perfumed with the smell of stale
Wine-barrels, followed by old comrades, pale
From war, mustaches like limp flags, to march
With banners, flowers, through the triumphal arch

Erected for them, by some magic touch!
And in the dazzling, deafening debauch
Of bugles, sunlight, of huzzas and drum,
Bring glory to the love-drunk folks at home!

Even so, wine pours its gold to frivolous
Humanity, a shining Pactolus;
Then through man's throat of high exploits it sings
And by its gifts reigns like authentic kings.

To lull these wretches' sloth and drown the hate
Of all who mutely die, compassionate,
God has created sleep's oblivion;
Man added Wine, divine child of the Sun.
Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 23, 2012 at 8:57pm

Good point, Cheryl. As the work in the blog indicates, the whole concept or notion of what constitutes a book is evolving rapidly & on many fronts.

Comment by cheryl penn on July 23, 2012 at 8:54pm

Amy - each book has its own special flavor - let me know when you're ready to visit them :-). Janine - 

Well up and die without ever a desire to weep  - MAN! Rimbaud can make one grieve with his handling of words. Theresa - where would we be without a life lived with the inevitability of art? I'm with you there X

Comment by Theresa Ann Aleshire Williams on July 23, 2012 at 6:23pm
It seemed wrong to bind a book about ragpicking. Thanks for the great write up, Cheryl. The ego wants to live forever but another part of us just wants to participate. To not make art but to live a life which makes art inevitable. I've been working on the latter. XXOXO



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