Artists' book isn’t a new thing in art. Some famous people such as William Blake, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky and others created those books but it was a one-time event.
Actually, in Russia birth of the artists’ book associate with futurists’ publications at the beginning of the 20th century. Partly, it was caused by the lack of good paper because of the bolshevist revolution and its consequences. Mainly, it was some kind of the challenge to the society like poetry was. We can call it gentle ragging.
One of the main futurists’ merits is that they have turned around traditional view to the aspect that an artist works for a book. Their new concept was that a book works for its artist. During the first third of the 20th century artists’ book have lost its importance in Russia whereas in Western Europe and USA artists’ book continued to develop and have become an independent form of art. The term “Artists’ book” was created in the middle of 20th century in the article of American fine art expert Joan Draker who called artists’book “A quintessence of art forms of the 20th century”.
In Russia artists’ book has got its second chance about 20 years ago. Wassily Vlasov, Victor Goppey, Victor Lunkin, Mikhail Karasyik, Mikhail Pogarsky have become initiators of her renaissance. By the means of their hard work Artists’ book has become a bright phenomena in Russian cultural life.
There is a big showcase every year in Moscow and other Russian cities. Moreover, there were three international Biennale (Bucharest, New York, Moscow) and the next one is going to be at 2016.
The city where I live (Kirov) has already met artists’ book in August 2015. Mikhail Pogarsky has accepted our invitation and has shown about 200 showpieces from his collection created by artists from 15 different countries.
This showcase generated a huge interest among residents of Kirow. That’s why the exhibition was extended for one month.
In this exhibition, called "The Book of the artist at the turn of ages", took part artists from Kirov such as O. Baryshnikova, G. Balabanova, V. Burov, А. Gruzdev and E. Musohranov. Their books adequately completed M.Pogarsky’s collection.
This exhibition and introduction to the Artists’ book have become the starting point for creation some projects in Vyatka. Moreover, Mikhail Valentinovich Pogarsky’s support inspired artists.
The first independent project was named “Vyatka. History and Presence through the eyes of an artist”. Kirov artists, teachers, students of art schools and many book fans have supported this project.
74 artists took part in the showcase and introduced 107 different books. Their diversity was impressive: from the pop-up book to the leather-bound book, from the book as a specific object to the book which is embroided on the fee. The showcase was supported by M. Pogarsky, S. Nikolskaya, N. Kabirova, A. Dzhikiya, E. Pavlova and I. Lebedev who have sent their books.
Guest reviews including professional artists were friendly.There were suggestions to continue such projects. TV and the press reaction was also positive.
Invitations, banners and the diploma were designed to this showcase and the colourful booklet was printed by the end of the exhibition to reflect all the stages.
The first successful experience and public support have strengthened confidence in artists’ abilities what gave theinspiration for new projects. Also, support from Michael Pogarsky, Vasily Vlasov, Alexei Parygin and others outstanding Russian artists is a guarantee of that success.
I address to artists, teachers and students of art schools, to everyone who loves the book and experiment: "Welcome to our projects! We are glad to see you and your involvement. "
I would like to add that our artists will be happy to take part in the projects of other Russian cities and foreign countries.
A member of Artists Trade Union of Russia
A member of the International Artistic fund