The Book As Art: Three Works by Maddy Rosenberg

Since the early production of books, artists have collaborated with printers to produce richly illustrated volumes.  With the arts and crafts movement and subsequent avant-garde groups in the late 19th century, the book as art moved away from traditional formats to incorporate more daring designs and conceptual possibilities. Loyola’s Special Collections and Archives holds many wonderful examples of these creative combinations of text and image in the Rosalee McReynolds Collection. Several more recent acquisitions showcase the work of Maddy Rosenberg, an artist and curator based in New York and Berlin. In The Ruins, Lost and Berlin Bestiary, Rosenberg explores themes of destruction and history as well as architectural forms.

In The Ruins, through the accordion folding and scalloped pages, Rosenberg transforms a traditional two-dimensional book design into a Roman or Grecian wall. Masks reminiscent of early theater line the inside while small statues pop out of exterior corners.

The Ruins (Front Open) – 2009, 3.75 x 6, soft-covered digital version, Edition 6 of 10

The Ruins (Back Open) – 2009, 3.75 x 6, soft-covered digital version, Edition 6 of 10

The Ruins (Closed) – 2009, 3.75 x 6, soft-covered digital version, Edition 6 of 10

Lost combines images from illuminated manuscripts with contemporary images of bombed areas of Baghdad. Rosenberg created this work for the Al-Mutanabbi Street project, organized in response to the car bombing of a street of booksellers in Baghdad. The project asked book artists for works that “reflect both the strength and fragility of books, but also show the endurance of the ideas within them.” By combining old and new forms of illustration, Rosenberg creates a dialogue between tradition and ongoing devastation of communities in Iraq. Since the 7th century when the first Islamic books appeared, ornamental motifs, luxury bindings and illustrations often accompanied text. Lost pays homage to this history and the significance of book making in Iraqi culture.

Lost, Front Cover - 2013, 4.5 x 7 inches, edition AP1 of 10, digitally printed, handmade and burned

Lost, Page 1 – 2013, 4.5 x 7 inches, edition AP1 of 10, digitally printed, handmade and burned

Lost, Page 2 and 3 – 2013, 4.5 x 7 inches, edition AP1 of 10, digitally printed, handmade and burned

Lost, Page 4 and 5 - 2013, 4.5 x 7 inches, edition AP1 of 10, digitally printed, handmade and burned

Lost, Page 6 and 7 – 2013, 4.5 x 7 inches, edition AP1 of 10, digitally printed, handmade and burned

Lost, Page 8 and 9 – 2013, 4.5 x 7 inches, edition AP1 of 10, digitally printed, handmade and burned

Lost, Page 10 and 11 – 2013, 4.5 x 7 inches, edition AP1 of 10, digitally printed, handmade and burned

Lost, Page 12 – 2013, 4.5 x 7 inches, edition AP1 of 10, digitally printed, handmade and burned

For Berlin Bestiary, a pop-up book, Rosenberg enclosed images of stone animals found in the streets and parks of Berlin with monumental tombs from the Jewish cemetery in Weisensee, near the city. The second largest Jewish cemetery in Europe, Weisensee remained intact through much of the bombing during World War II but fell into disrepair due to the murder and emigration of much of the Jewish community. Now the site of the Holocaust Concentration Camp Memorial, the cemetery was added to UNESCO’s list of world heritage monuments in 2005.

Berlin Bestiary (Front Open) – 2010, edition 14 of 20, 7 x 5 inches

Berlin Bestiary (Back Open) – 2010, edition 14 of 20, 7 x 5 inches

For more information or to see these wonderful creations yourself, stop by Special Collections and Archives, located on the 3rd floor of the Monroe Library. We are open Monday through Thursday 9:00-4:30 and Friday 9:00-12:00. To find out about Maddy Rosenberg and view more of her work, visit www.maddyrosenberg.net.

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

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