Irma Blank

Artist’s books: editions and originals

17 September – 04 October 2014

P420 presents the complete production of limited edition books by Irma Blank, and some one-of-a-kind originals (opening Saturday 20 September, at 18.00, Piazza dei Martiri 5/2, Bologna, already on view starting on Wednesday 17 September, for Artelibro). Irma Blank (Celle, Germany, 1934) has been conducting research on language for almost half a century, challenging linguistic conventions. Already at the end of the 1960s she began to make works in book form, and since 1974 she has published many limited editions. «The work of an artist involved in writing is not precisely the work of a writer,» Giorgio Verzotti wrote in 1984, curating the presentation of a large selection of artists’ books of German origin at the Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense in Milan. «The writer operates on the plane of meaning, while an artist makes meaningful writing into pure image.» Composed of white pages, of inscriptive signs that are impossible to decipher, transcriptions that fail to convey the meaning of the words, Irma Blank’s books do not narrate, describe or inform. They are silent books that convey the unspeakable. Yet the books of Irma Blank are full of meanings. The artist rewrites the institution of knowledge and challenges the role of the word as a vehicle and sign of power. She initiates a discussion on language, on tongues, deploying a primordial sign that comes prior to any codification. Her books have been shown at MoMA New York (1992), Centre Pompidou in Paris (1985, 2010), the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris (1981, 1996, 1997), Documenta VI, Kassel (1977), the Sao Paulo Biennial (1981), the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna of Rome (2000), the GAM in Turin (1997), the MART in Rovereto (2005, 2007) and the Museo del Novecento in Milan (2012), among other places. For the occasion, the new artist’s book On line by Irma Blank will be presented, published by P420 in 200 signed and numbered copies. The artist will be present at the opening.