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Title: The Everyday Press : an artists' books imprint
Author: Desjardin, Arnaud
ISNI:       0000 0004 2714 8865
Awarding Body: Kingston University
Current Institution: Kingston University
Date of Award: 2011
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In short, I would argue that our notion of the artist's book came about not through a singular definitive change in the practical mode with which an artist might choose to express himself, as for instance in the familiar Marxist model of greater distribution and economy of the art object through mass-production, but rather in a fundamental and decisive change in the consciousness of both author and reader as a concrete corollary of many different factors. Thus the difficulty of defining precisely what sort of classification one should impose or how to exclude, include or segregate into category the many different tribes of book that might satisfy a particular brief is essentially brushed aside. The familiar skirmishes between the modernist protagonists of mass-production and the paladins of craft over content are immaterial; it is the reader who, just as much (if not more) than the artist/author, establishes the conditions with which the book will become meaningful. "Tropes" by Paul Claydon In PutAbout: a Critical Anthology of Independent Publishing (Maria Fusco and Ian Hunt eds. ) London: Bookworks, 2004. p124. The Everyday Press began its life as a proposal for a Fine Art Practice-based Doctoral Research at the University of Kingston. This research practically questions how publishing artists' books can be considered an art practice in and of itself, it articulates a series of problematic associated with the position of the artist as publisher and the effective conditions of reception of the said books within the field of Artists Books. The Everyday Press is a publisher of artists' books. This means that the practical, actual, critical and historical commitments of The Everyday Press to artists' books are its project. How this is arguably achieved is documented in part by this thesis and made evident by the publications themselves. The present thesis contains all the publications of The Everyday Press to date as well as four contextual volumes that approach the work of The Everyday Press from different perspectives. Through a process of mise en abyme each volume includes one another in a condensed, reflected form. In this four volumes thesis I will specify my use of mise en abyme as a self-reflexive structure and a working model for the research. Together the thesis forms an expose of The Everyday Press as a work in itself. The contextual volumes are organised as follows: Volume One proposes an outline of the field and defines an area of knowledge and professional experience of the publisher. This is done in order to first expose on the one hand the conventional relationship of the press to the field and on the other its attempt at expanding the category through practical publishing. This first volume sets The Everyday Press in a critical and historical moment informed by precedents. Volume Two endeavours to describe the publications, their context of production and content. It constitutes a catalogue of the publications to date and problematises the intentions of the publisher against the actual publications and their possible reception as artists' books. The writing here should at times be understood as a parody of some authoritative interpretive modes related to artists books, particularly those seeking affiliation and original contributions. Those intentions are as laden with problematic a priori conceptions, unshakable because they are always already present to the interpretive paradigm that bypasses the reader and his ability to make his mind up for himself. Volume Three marks the traces of the passage of a few artists' books through time and space and produces an account of the field through revealing anecdotes and encounters. This account of the field is also where some of the networks of dissemination of the books are exposed as productive sites and encounters rather than as neutral vehicles for distribution. The books are released through distributive networks, bookshops, museums and the Internet. The research documents and interrogates how such networks may have been formed in the past and how the channels of distribution constitute an essential part of the Field of Artists Books. Volume Four is a bibliography of books and catalogues on artists' books. The bibliography takes stock of a wide variety of publications on artists' books to draw attention to the kind of documentary trace of distribution, circulation and reception they represent That overlooked history of the practice of exhibiting, publishing, disseminating and collecting artist's books during the last forty years is primarily focused on bibliographic data where the main criteria is bibliographical information rather than critical writing or texts on artists' books. My research gathered and compiled these documents in order to provide an aspect of the field often ignored. In its final form it aims to be a source book of exhibition catalogues, collection catalogues, monographs, dealership catalogues and other lists published to inform, promote, describe, show, distribute and circulate artists' books. A series of exhibition of that material and the works of The Everyday Press further the work of public dissemination of the present research. Although this is not stated repeatedly in the thesis, the material presence of The Everyday Press publications should be assumed throughout. The reader can take for granted that books were exchanged, gifted and pushed on anyone remotely interested in the subject of artists' books I came in contact with in the course of the research. My long-standing experience as an art book dealer provided the background knowledge and direct connections to doing the work of production, distribution and research necessary for the PhD. That background no doubt played a role in wanting to produce new books with other artists, possibly wanting to make the kind of books I didn't see because they didn't exist. While all the people contacted for the purpose of this enquiry were aware of my being an artist undertaking a work of research related to artists' books also consisting in a publisher, they welcomed my questions and the books I came with as a genuine publishing project. Explaining what I was doing was not always easy and The Everyday Press publications were also a calling card for me to contact artists, publishers, dealers, editors etc. Paradoxically it is the work of research itself (for example interviewing a publisher or an librarian, or looking for reference books in a dealer's basement) that represents a practical insertion of The Everyday Press into the field (where publishers compare notes, the librarian gladly accepts a new free book and dealers sometimes share some knowledge). As we will see in the thesis, the category of artists' books is full of those contradictions and paradoxes: to begin with artists' books are viewed and received as Art but released as books.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Art and design