Artists’ Books on Tour – Artist Competition and Mobile Museum

As the term “artist’s book” covers a broad field of artistic production with fuzzy boundaries,
please consider the following text as an inspiration and/or guideline for your contributions:
Art theory defines artists’ books as a specific art genre comprising visual artworks that

present artistic ideas in book form, relating to the book’s specific conceptual and physical
Artists’ books are multimedia and transmedia art forms, characterized by the hybridization of the textual and the visual, reading and viewing, literary culture and the visual arts. Bringing various disciplines together, artists’ books create liminal spaces that uncover new relations
between, for instance, the private and the public, the aesthetic and the political, the gift and
the commodity. These spaces are platforms for the expression of new artistic and aesthetic
contents; they function as communication tools that reveal new aesthetic and cultural
paradigms, processes of political mobilization, and the effects of ideology.
The history of artists’ books, almost two centuries long, is informed by ongoing research of
the medium and its mutations. The beginnings of the genre can be identified in William
Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Songs of Innocence and of Experience in
which Blake’s approach to text and images differed from that otherwise used in illustrated
books. He created the prototype of what came to be known as the artist’s book. Numerous
artists, above all the avant-gardes and those inspired by or relating to them, discovered the
endless possibilities in the hybridization of the visual and the written in book form. Artists’
books became a specific form of expression of artistic ideas that was different from the
illustrated book, the livre d’artiste, fine press, and book art.
Always open to the new, artists’ books are certainly ready for the new digital age we live in.
New computer and internet technologies pose fresh challenges to the genre precisely
because of their constitutive feature, i.e. the capability of overcoming the limitations of their
own medium. Today, artists’ books face a vast range of development possibilities that bring
new approaches to, and considerations of, what constitutes bookness in a haptic and cultural
sense as well as within the new field of the digital.

In order to bring visibility to contemporary developments in the field of artists’ books, we offer
artists a platform to share their work within a unique all-European competition among book
artists for the first time ever. We therefore invite artists to hand in their recent or planned art
projects in the field: submissions will be accepted as completed physical or digital book
objects or in the form of conceptual designs for projected but yet-unrealized book works.
Outstanding works will be awarded a grant given by an international jury.

application form online (

MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art
“Artists’ Books on Tour” Stubenring 5, A-1010 Vienna

Registration December 1st, 2010 – February 28th, 2011
Submission December 1st, 2010 – May 2nd, 2011 (postmark)
Jury session June 2011
Realization of winning concepts July – September 30th, 2011
ABoT Award Nite in Vienna October 11th, 2011
Touring exhibition October 11th, 2011 – May 31st, 2012
1. Vienna October 11th, 2011 – January 8th, 2012
2. Prague January 16th – March 18th, 2012
3. Ljubljana March 26th – May 31st, 2012

Artists’ Books on Tour – Artist Competition and Mobile Museum