Art on the Page

Thursday, 3 August, 2017 to Sunday, 14 January, 2018

Joan Miró and Tristain Tzara, Parler seul: Poéme, Paris: Maeght Éditeur, 1950

The University of Melbourne is pleased to present Art on the Page, a joyous exhibition celebrating the livre d’artiste, or artist book, bringing together 47 original artworks on the printed page from 40 twentieth-century European and Australian masters, to the delight of Melbourne bibliophiles, art lovers, indie publishers and design geeks.

Curated by Susan Millard, the University of Melbourne’s Special Collections Librarian, Art on the Page showcases the astonishing, little-known book illustration work of a number of the world’s finest artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Antoni Tàpies, Marc Chagall, David Hockney and Joan Miró. Their original woodcuts, lithographs, etchings, tableaux and engravings - of the type normally found on the gallery wall - accompany the work of revered writeres including Vladimir Mayakovsky, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Emily Brontë and Guillaume Apollnaire.

A product of the rapid rise in book production that occured during the twentieth century, artist books were typically printed in runs of less than three hundred, and hand-numbered and signed by artsits. Each existing as an exquisite print artefact in itself, these publications celebrated artistic collboration, authenticity and innovative design, and promoted a fruitful merger between the visual art and literature. Hugely popular amoung major painters and sculptors of the twentieth century, artist books and the traditions they engenderd carried over into limited-edition art magazines such as Verve and Derrière le Miroir, also included in Art on the Page, and continue to resonate today through the renaissance of art book fairs and independent print publishing. 

Susan Millard, Curator: "Art on the Page is a fantastic opportunity to encounter the beautiful works held by the University of Melbourne in the outstanding Rare Books Collection, as it traces the links between the twentieth-century European illustrated book tradition and the contemporary Australian context."

Often fulled by immigrant journeys, the influence of these publications on Australian artists is presented through contemporary publishers Lyrebird Press, Mastertheif, Lexicon House, Zimmer Editions and the Graphic Investigation Workshop, along with the work of individual artists such as Petr Herel, Bruno Leti, Inge King, Peter Lyssiotis, Angela Cavalleri, and writers Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Dimitris Tsaloumas and Paul Kelly.

A floor talk by curator Susam Millard will be delivered Wednesday 9th of August, 12-1pm.