About this piece:
A constant among the many variables I encountered in the study of book structures was the connection between historical ownership and lavish decorations: how the use of precious metals and stones safeguarded the binding across space/time. The logical conclusion is that unadorned works were left to their own devices – however inspiring its contents, however cleaver its engineering. Limp Vellum bindings, the champions of events such as the flood of Florence, present the plainest surface for design elements. Enamored with its flexibility, strength and grace, I set out to derive from its potential a sculptural element that would stand as its wealth and guardian. The process of combining content with this goal was a flow: titled “Lightweight”, the book is sculpted page by page to embody an angled beam. Its contents run from and across and around its shape as humorous observations of quantifiers for the assessment of aesthetics, of relationships, and of some some such human fancies.
Limp-vellum bindings reached their technical zenith towards the end of the period when books were entirely bound by the same person. Painstakingly harmonizing individual components was a standard broken to pieces with the assembly lines, but back then usual even for utilitarian objects. Such standard had the opportunity to be recreated after the flood of Florence, along with the realization that its retention value had taken into account not what it was but what it lacked: limp-vellums were unadorned. Goldless, gemless, rather limp really, plain and perfect things of life. A tribute to human skill, capable of surviving catastrophes elegantly but what could have been lost to notions of value and, most importantly, the judgment across time that has been reserved for what is perceived as lacking value. As a response, this book named Lightweight intends to incorporate its worth by bearing a sculptural eelement formed from its own folios, made possible by its own genius.
This book has started in Florence, 1966, as the waters rose and receded. At the same time it has also started in New York City, 2002, during a class called Historical Structures. Its pages moved back and forth for years until they literally acquired a shape, something like a hump that runs slant from head to tail. Time being a theme, when the proof was ready to be laced-in before an approaching deadline its binder wrung her hands crying out loud – this endsheet, what to do! – and looked around herself. The scene was a present-day communal workshop. No medieval bookbinders anywhere near. There were many dear friends, contemporary artists, some letterpress printers. What to do. Trial, and error, and time.
NOTE: purchase of this piece will be in the form of the commission of a custom copy. Delivery estimates will be made after commitment to purchase is complete.
Magnani paper, goatskin parchment, RC photographs, foundry type, photopolymer plates, woodcuts.
From an artistic-alienated background, Ana Cordeiro’s initial immersion in Visual Arts was through photography. After two solo shows, however, the need of developing skills for translating visual stimulus into tactile experiences was pressing. Starting as work/study at the New York City Center for Book Arts in 2002, with intense studio production, a wealth of instructors and much independent studies she has become a full-time bookbinder, book artist, and letterpress printer. She has been part of many group shows, producing works that are collected privately and institutionally.