Works from the Gulbenkian Art Library in Buenos Aires

Between May 2 and June 13, the National Library of Argentina will host an exhibition of artist's books and independent editions from the Gulbenkian Art Library collection.
12 apr 2024

The exhibition is part of the programme for the Buenos Aires International Book Fair 2024, in which Lisbon is the Guest of Honour City.

The historic library, named after its founder, Mariano Moreno, occupies a magnificent example of Brutalist architecture in Buenos Aires and was run by the writer Jorge Luís Borges between 1955 and 1973.

The exhibition, which will be presented in one of its exhibition spaces, is curated by Ana Barata, and will comprise a selection of 40 books of different types, formats, and materials.

The list of artists represented is vast: Alberto Picco, Alexandre Conefrey, Alexandre Estrela, Alice Geirinhas, Ana Hatherly, Ana João Romana, Ângela Berlinde, António Barros, Beatriz Horta Correia, Bruno Borges, Carla Rebelo, Catarina Leitão, Cristina Filipe, David Gonçalves, Dinis Conefrey, E. M. de Melo e Castro, Gabriela Noujaim, Isabel Baraona, João Fonte Santa, João Sebastian, José Escada, Julião Sarmento, Lourdes Castro, Lúcia Prancha, Luís Silveirinha, Magda Delgado, Nuno Henrique, Pedro Calapez, Pedro Pascoinho, Renata Siqueira Bueno, René Bertholo, Rita Barros, Rita Thomaz, Rosário Rebelo de Andrade, Rui Horta Pereira, Sónia Almeida, Delli Press and Edições da Sala 5. 

The Art Library’s collection of Artist’s Books and Independent Publishing began in the 1990s and is today the largest and most important collection of its kind in Portugal, with around 5,000 titles. Although international in scope, the largest number of titles are by Portuguese or foreign artists living in Portugal, from various generations, reflecting national artistic creation from the 1960s onwards.

Since the 1960s, artist’s books have occupied an important space in contemporary artistic creation. Materialisations of a concept that is both precise and fluid, they allow for freer and more experimental plastic approaches and diverse forms of reading and enjoyment, sometimes interactive, multidimensional, and multisensory.

Two talks will be held as part of the exhibition, on May 3 and June 12 respectively:

  • When Art and the Book are Limitless: Notes for a Definition of the Artist’s Book, talk by Ana Barata, curator of the collection. It will discuss some of the possible definitions of the “artist’s book”, its historical context and its importance as a contemporary artistic expression.
  • The preservation of Artist’s Books: paradoxes, challenges, and opportunities, talk by Sónia Casquiço, conservator-restorer of the collection. The lecture draws on the experience of the Art Library and presents the various paradoxes, challenges and opportunities facing conservation professionals when it comes to preserving works as unusual, fragile, and unstable as artist’s books.

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