Jul 172015

Exhibit CaseA few weeks ago while at the Humboldt State U. library, I noticed that a new, intriguingly eclectic book exhibit was being installed in the main display case.

The friendly person arranging the books told me that students in the Museum and Gallery Practices certificate program, which was responsible for the exhibit, had each contributed a book of personal significance for inclusion. They were calling the display “Inspiration in a Book”.

Two of the books in particular caught my eye. They were accordions. I’m always fascinated by mass-produced accordions. They were each a reproduction of an old Japanese work of art for a Western audience, and both were published in the 1960s.

One was Choju Giga: Scrolls of Animal Caricatures, adapted by Shigetaka Kaneko from the Japanese text by Hideo Okudaira (the book was published in 1969; the work itself dates to the 12th and 13th C).

Choju Giga in display case


large accordion book in display case

As the copy of “Who’s Who in the CIA” would suggest, this is indeed an eclectic display.

The other was a reproduction of Sesshu’s Long Scroll that was published with English commentary by Tuttle.Sesshu's Long Scroll in display case

This enjoyable display inspired me to share the commercially-produced accordions from my own personal library.

Sesshu's Long ScrollFirst up is … Sesshu’s Long Scroll published by Tuttle in ’69. They’ve reprinted it a few times. This version has wooden covers (I think it might be the same edition that’s in the library exhibit).

Couleurs du Jour

Couleurs du Jour detail

Couleurs du Jour detail 3
This slinky, joyful delight is Couleurs du Jour by Czech author-illustrator Kveta Pacovska. It’s definitely colorful. And it’s filled with pop-ups and subtle changes in texture on the pages. It’s also double-sided and l-o-n-g. There are openings in some places that offer glimpses of parts of the reverse. It’s fun to open it at random and flip through — and stretch out — pages . . . after pages. The pages are all joined at the fore-edge to form the accordion, as you can see in this top view.

Couleurs du Jour closed

It’s the sort of thing that fills one with potential ideas for making one’s own books. The illustrations are simple and childlike, and there are no words. But the piece as a whole flows with an inner rhythm that seems to make sense in an odd and playful way.

This is Fenêtres Sur Rue (“Windows on the Street”) by Pascal Rabaté. On one side are views of buildings by day. Then you flip it over for nighttime.

Fenetres: Matinées Fenetres: soirees

Like the previous accordion, the pages are all glued together along one edge only (note the extra thickness on the right top view below).

Fenetres top view

Nox, published in 2010, is a facsimile of a handmade book by American poet and classicist Anne Carson. Its theme is decidedly more somber than the others. It comes in a clamshell box.

Nox, open in clamshell box


Nox by Anne Carson

The eclectic display at the Humboldt State library is in the large case on the ground floor and will be on view until July 27.

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