The ARoS Collection

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The ARoS Collection
A research based exhibition by Anne Elisabeth Toft

For the first time ever, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum is showcasing its distinguished collection of photobooks and artists’ books. The occasion is Photobook Week Aarhus 2018 – the only photography festival in Denmark dedicated to the photobook and its discourse.
Photobooks and artists’ books are not the same, although they are closely connected and sometimes even overlap as categories. An artist’s book can be defined as a work of art in the book format – that is, a book as art. A photobook is also an autonomous work of art. Particular to this, however, is its exposure of photography and that photographs carry its primary messages.
Both artists’ books and photobooks are aesthetic formats that have not always been given the status of art. It is only in the last 10 to 15 years that the photobook has been truly recognised as an art object by a wider art audience. However, books illustrated with photographs have existed for almost as long as photography, which dates back to the 1830s.
As early as in the 1930s, the Surrealists were experimenting with photography and books as art, and several international avant-garde artists of the 1950s also included the book format in their work. In the 1960s and 1970s, conceptual artists – who critically rejected standard ideas of art and the exclusivity of painting and sculpture – embraced both photographs and books. Lately, a new and growing interest in the book format has emerged among the youngest generation of visual artists in both Denmark and abroad.

The book is a democratic and far-reaching medium, and digital technologies have made it easier than ever before to lay out, typeset, and print books in high quality and small runs. This seems to be a major reason for self-publishing and zines having become common phenomena that ever more artists are experimenting with. For the latter, photobooks and artists’ books increasingly function as both art objects and places of display in their own right, with exceptional possibilities.
This exhibition wishes to celebrate the exquisite work of artists and photographers who have experimented with the book format in their art practices. Artists’ books and photobooks representing different artistic genres and discourses are shown next to each other. The books are presented in a relational order which does not follow any traditionally categorised exhibition systems, but which supports the expressions of the books as well as the open and heterogeneous structure of the collection. In this way, the exhibition aims to pay tribute to each book and its unique aesthetics.
The exhibition consists of a representative selection of books from the ARoS Collection. Many of the books are self-published and one of a kind, donated to the museum by the artists. Books by Asger Jorn, Per Kirkeby, Sven Dalsgaard, Stig Brøgger, Jytte Rex, and Tom Krøjer, to mention but a few, emphasise that the collection is anchored in a Danish context. But it also features major works by international artist groups and artists, such as the Situationists, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, and Dieter Roth.
The collection encompasses several collections and sub-collections. In the exhibition, this is reflected by the installation of display cases containing rare collections, including the Danish publication Ta’ BOX and works by the American artist Ed Ruscha.
The exhibition, which is on show until 1 November 2018, is curated by Anne Elisabeth Toft, Photobook Week Aarhus, in collaboration with librarian Søren Bæch, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum.
Publikationsdato4 okt. 2018
StatusUdgivet - 4 okt. 2018
BegivenhedPhotobook Week Aarhus 2018: 5th Edition: The Virtual and The Physical - Arkitektskolen Aarhus, Dokk 1, ARoS, Aarhus, Danmark
Varighed: 4 okt. 20187 okt. 2018
Konferencens nummer: 5


UdstillingPhotobook Week Aarhus 2018
LokationArkitektskolen Aarhus, Dokk 1, ARoS

Kunstnerisk udviklingsvirksomhed (KUV)

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