Artist Books 3.0

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An Encyclopedia of Everything Turns 300 Books

20th July 2013.

I have started the collation (massive task!) and systematic documentation of all the works received for An Encyclopedia of Everything, for an on-line catalogue due for down loading when this installation is exhibited in October (D.V. at the KZNSA Gallery in Durban). Two highpoints stand out for me. One, the date of An Encyclopedia of Everything turning 100 books was 29th July 2013. This means that in just a year, over 200 books have been made and swopped and travelled the world to be part of this installation.

Secondly, it would not have been possible without collaboration from artists I know, those I have come to know and artists I know nothing of - except that they are willing to share their work. This collection is set alight by a collaborative generosity of spirit not often evidenced in the art arena. Collaboration works in different ways. It could be an exchange of books, such as is evidenced on - and for this I thank Robert Heather for his maintenance and supervision of this artists book web site - the book collections which now belong to numerous book artists all over the world would not be possible without his support - (see article An Encyclopedia of Everything Turns 200 books - see

Or,  artists have contributed to the content of a book, for example - Artists Postcards. In a work such as this, I asked TICATAC (Germany) for a set of her postcards as artifacts for a book. Without hesitation, a full set were sent with the next mail, signed, stamped and numbered. The use such artifacts in book production are in keeping with my attempt in this body of work to give the reader access to medium/information reality. No longer is the book about images of paintings/images of postcards/images of drawings - the reader interacts with the genuine item.

Cheryl Penn. 2014. Artists Postcards. (Unique book made from Artists Postcards received from TICATAC (Germany).

Collaboration includes the Circ! series of books where I sent half finished works to other artists to complete. Artists who collaborated with me on this series are John Bennett (USA), Mehrl C Bennett (USA), Allan Bealy (USA) (3 sets of works), Alicia Starr (USA) Martine Rastello (France), Petru Viljoen and Lesley Magwood Fraser (South Africa).

Allan Bealy (USA) and Cheryl Penn (South Africa). 2014. Circ! (Architecture).

Petru Viljoen and Cheryl Penn (South Africa). 2014. Circ!

There are writing/poetry collaborations. These works can be read on and include writing with David Stone, (USA - 4 books, another currently under way), Marie Wintzer (Japan), Wolfgang Guenther (Germany) Petru Viljoen (South Africa, and Joel Chase (USA). Exchanging words is as powerful as surrendering thoughts - words are formidable tools of communication, and how we select and interact with our words between each other can be a microcosm of our inner selves.

David Stone (USA) and Cheryl Penn (South Africa). 2014. Morning Masks.

Marie Wintzer (Japan) and Cheryl Penn (South Africa). 2013/2104. An Epic. The Vicious Circle of the Couch Potato. (Photographs by Marie Wintzer).

There are artists who give permission for their work to be used for another intention other than Mail Art, for example John Bennett (USA) and Theo Nelson (Canada). I have used each of these artists work in numerous ways, but one stand out includes work they have sent in the creation of a mini biography. Imagine reading the biography of Picasso, which included original artworks - these books feel as good to me. Theo Nelson bought into my series Vessels in Dispute, thereby helping to spread the mythology, which might one day become - a meme?

For image see:

John Bennett by Cheryl Penn. 2014. (Visual Poetry, collaborations, notes, shopping lists by John Bennett) Cheryl Penn. 2014.

For image see:

Vessels in Dispute. (Vessels by Theo Nelson)  

To create An Anthology of International Doodles, I sent out pages requesting artists from all over the world to doodle and return to me. The definition of ‘Doodles’ may be stretched beyond all recognition, but is that not the intention of Artists Books? To question and interrogate the traditional book, to stretch the imagination? I have been collecting for a year now and this will result in at least 4 books. Various Artists. 2013/2014.

For Image see:

An Anthology of International Doodles. (Doodles by Anna Banana (Canada) and Mehrl C Bennett (USA)) As I’ve said before, we book artists are generally in the business of working alone. Our intense thinking, creating and binding acts are meditative and insular, but our works long to Be Out There. There is something very personal about giving and receiving a book from another artist. One sits in the head space of a makers ideas made flesh. We plan and plot, draw and write, print and paint. We sew and bind, construct and invent. I mean – who GETS artists books better than Book Artists? Add to the mix the process of collaborating – the heady, resounding echoes of a choir instead of a piping solo = many artists creating meaning through text and image in one corpus – this is An Encyclopedia of Everything.

For Image see:

A golden, swopped book I have to show you: Sally Chinea (UK). 2014. Golden Miles. (Unique, sewn, cloth accordion book).

Contributing Artists so far (including collaborators) Participants Reed Altemus (USA) Tiziana Baracchi (Italy) Vittore Baroni (Italy) Allan Bealy (USA) Angela Behrendt (Germany) C. Mehrl Bennett (USA) John Bennett (USA) Jessica Botma (South) Africa Judy Bourke (Australia) Kathy Boyle (New Zealand) Vizma Bruns (Australia) Joel Chase (USA) Sally Chinea (UK) Marian Crane (USA) Pal Csaba (Hungary) David Dellafiora (Australia) Theresa Easton (UK) Ken Ford (Australia) Robyn Foster (Australia) Carina Granlund (Finland) Rob Grant (Australia) Rosa Gravino (Argentina) Karen Greenwood (South Africa) Uli Grohmann (Germany) Wolfgang Guenther (Germany) Rebecca Guyver (UK) Sue Hobbs (South Africa) Estelle Hudson (South Africa) Laura Hudson (New Zealand) Lisa Iverson (USA) Eberhard Janke (Germany) Bifidus Jones (USA) Satu Kaikkonen (Finland) Hilke Kurzke (UK) Susanna Lakner (Germany) Robin Lamplough (South Africa Alexander Limarev (Russia) Lesley Magwood-Fraser (South Africa) Yves Maraux (France) Dean Marks (France) Catherine Mc Cue Boes (Australia) Kathleen Nartuhi (USA) Not Hi Ng (USA) Cheryl Penn (South Africa) Walter Pennacchi (Italy) Marcela Peral (Argentina) Martine Rastello (France) Bernd Reichert (Belgium) Kensa Rescorla (UK) Colleen Ross (South Africa) Chris Ruston (UK) Ruth Shaw-Williams (UK) Gwen Simpson (UK) Christopher Skinner (UK) Mark Sonnenfeld (USA) Alicia Starr (USA) Karl Steurer (Switzerland) Matthew Stolte (USA) David Stone (USA) (Rod Summers (Netherlands) Erich Sunnderman (Austria) TICTAC (Ptrzia) (Germany) Cauli Torma (Budapest, Hungary) Stephanie Turnbull (UK) Lubomyr Tymkiv (Ukraine) Anete Ulmane (Latvia) Guido Vermeulen (Belgium) Petru Viljoen (South Africa) Klaus von Mirbach (Germany) Svenja Wahl (Germany) Nadine Wendell Mojica (USA) Marie Wintzer (Japan) Jesvin Yeo (Singapore)

Note: I would appreciate it if anyone notifies me if his or her name is not on the list - that would be a disaster to me! Collecting/swopping for this installation will not end with the exhibition - this may become a lifetime work - perfect for An Encyclopedia of Everything. I am intending to send a listing to participants and there will be a full catalogue available for download, which includes the blog write up, and image of the works received for the collection. Many thanks again to all the artists who have made this work possible.

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