Art + Book Symposium Dunedin School of Art October 16-18 2014
An exhibition and two days of papers and discussion from those engaged in art and book – as artists, art historians or theorists, teachers and cultural workers, and others involved in the wide constituency of the artworld, as well as those engaged in the world of books.
I presented a paper – The Book as Art Object–A Remedial Reading and had a work from my master’s show The evolution of Industry in the exhibition.
Remedial, in this context, applies to the definition of curative or affording a remedy. The concept of Kazimir Malevich’s pharmacy, a term coined from his essay ‘On the Museum’ in 1919 in response to the impending destruction of Russian museums and art collections by civil, political and economic unrest, is contemplated as a vitalising agency in the transformative character of the burnt book as art object.
Book burning has an unscrupulous history and is regarded as a crime against culture. Is this a culture defined by the achievements or failures of our civilised industrial world, a world facing environmental, social, and economic crisis? However, within our current digitised culture does the physical act of book burning evince concern among die-hard bibliophiles and is the notion of the pharmacy able to offer amnesty? This paper will introduce and analyse the ideas and methods of artists who acknowledge book burning in their art practice and conclude by forging connections between their work and the prudent nature of Malevich’s pharmacy.