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Sorted Books
     

Sorted Books

by Nina Katchadourian
 

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Delighting in the look and feel of books, conceptual artist Nina Katchadourian's playful photographic series proves that books' covers—or more specifically, their spines—can speak volumes. Over the past two decades, Katchadourian has perused libraries across the globe, selecting, stacking, and photographing groupings of two, three, four, or five books

Overview

Delighting in the look and feel of books, conceptual artist Nina Katchadourian's playful photographic series proves that books' covers—or more specifically, their spines—can speak volumes. Over the past two decades, Katchadourian has perused libraries across the globe, selecting, stacking, and photographing groupings of two, three, four, or five books so that their titles can be read as sentences, creating whimsical narratives from the text found there. Thought-provoking, clever, and at times laugh-out-loud funny (one cluster of titles from the Akron Museum of Art's research library consists of: Primitive Art/Just Imagine/Picasso/Raised by Wolves), Sorted Books is an enthralling collection of visual poems full of wry wit and bookish smarts.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When conceptual artist Katchadourian began stacking books to create playful expressions with their titles in the early 1990s, print had few challengers. Two decades later, with tablets and e-readers prevalent, the artist’s “delicate conceptual game with the horizontal and the vertical,” as Brian Dillon describes in his introduction, feels particularly relevant. The New York–based artist has assembled and photographed her stacks, or “clusters,” at private homes and museums, and even at playwright August Strindberg’s library in Stockholm. They recall everything from graffiti lifted from public bathroom stalls (“Repeat After Me/ Are You Confused?/ Are You Confused?”), to pure Imagist poems (“Sketches From a Hunter’s Album/ Rivers and Mountains/ Antlers in the Treetops/ Running Dog/ Some Trees/ Vanishing Animals”). When they are most effective, the book spines form lucid images that involve the viewer in a pithy narrative, such as the mock-noir cluster: “Trouble is My Business/ Money Under the Table/ Blood on the Dining-Room Floor/ Downcast Eyes/ Guilty.” With some exceptions, Katchadourian’s stacks possess an understated sophistication; they are true to the intimate nature of books and yet reveal their dramatic features and unexpected potential. And they suggest that print is becoming, as she believes, “more beautiful, more tactile, and more materially compelling.” Color photos. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Katchadourian's project - stacking books so that their titles read as droll, poem-like phrases, then photographing the results - takes on a weight beyond its initial novelty. It's a love letter to books, book collecting and the act of reading." - San Francisco Chronicle"

Katchadourian's stacks possess an understated sophistication; they are true to the intimate nature of books and yet reveal their dramatic features and unexpected potential." - Publishers Weekly"

As a longtime fan of artist Nina Katchadourian's long-running Sorted Books project I'm thrilled for the release of Sorted Books-a collection spanning nearly two decades of her witty and wise minimalist mediations on life by way of ingeniously arranged book spines.... In an era drowned in periodic death tolls for the future of the physical book, her project stands as a celebration of the spirit embedded in the magnificent materiality of the printed page." - Brain Pickings"

In Sorted Books, a project started nearly 20 years ago, Nina Katchadourian reveals the new narratives books can tell when stacked and organized by the titles printed on their spines. What results are short prose-poems. Some are witty, such as, "Speaking of Pianists/Am I Too Loud?/Beethoven Lives Upstairs"; others thought-provoking, such as "Paradise/Extra Innings/After Death;" but all have a way of proving that the seemingly ordinary things around us have fascinating new possibilities." - Oprah.com

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781452113296
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
03/05/2013
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Nina Katchadourian is an internationally exhibited conceptual artist. She lives in New York.

Brian Dillon is an award-winning author living in Canterbury, England.

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