books

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History Illustration

Digitally Explore a 1,000-Year-Old Illustrated Guide to Plants and Their Medical Uses

September 25, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Cotton MS Vitellius C III is the only surviving Old English illustrated book describing plants and their uses. Recently the British Library, along with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, digitized the 1,000-year-old illuminated manuscript. The ancient book features illustrations of plants and animals alongside various bodily issues that can be treated by their use or consumption. For example, a snake is illustrated by the passage on sweet basil, an herb that has been known to help fight poisonous bites.

Despite the manuscript being an extensive guide, there have been questions posed by several scholars regarding the piece’s exact use.

“Although it might seem like a practical guide to finding plants and preparing remedies, this manuscript’s uses are debated,” explains the the British Library’s Alison Hudson. “First, the illustrations are not always very useful for identifying plants and animals in the wild: take, for example, these depictions of strawberries and elephants [seen below].”

You can flip through the entirety of the guide’s illustrations on The British Library’s website. (via Open Culture and Hyperallergic)

 

 



Art Photography

Surreal Book and Lamp Installations by Rune Guneriussen Illuminate Norway’s Forests

September 7, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

At no time defeat sunrise, 2014

At no time defeat sunrise, 2014

Norwegian artist Rune Guneriussen (previously here and here) moves elements of domestic life into the outdoors, producing large installations built from books, lamps, and other displaced objects. His works are placed in remote areas of Norway’s forest, and either balance precariously in a selected location or illuminate a particular patch of the surrounding wooded environment.

“It is not as much photography as it is about sculpture and installation,” says Guneriussen in an artist statement. “…This process involves the object, story, space and most important the time it is made within. It is an approach to the balance between nature and human culture, and all the sublevels of our own existence.”

You can see more images from the conceptual artist’s outdoor installation series, which date back to 2005, on his website and Facebook. (via Ignant)

Protest art on separation, 2014

Protest art on separation, 2014

A plague on my stem, 2013

A plague on my stem, 2013

Discipline considered an option, 2012

Discipline considered an option, 2012

Globe clustered confluence, 2013

Globe clustered confluence, 2013

When man leaves men behind, 2013

When man leaves men behind, 2013

A 15-minute title, 2013

A 15-minute title, 2013

The heirs motivational speech, 2013

The heirs motivational speech, 2013

The beauty of the elderly, 2013

The beauty of the elderly, 2013

 

Acknowledge a new found grace, 2013

Acknowledge a new found grace, 2013

Accurate elliptical discourse, 2013

Accurate elliptical discourse, 2013

A finalized independent time, 2013

A finalized independent time, 2013

 

 



Colossal Craft Design

Tiffanie Turner’s Debut Book Shows How To Create Her Masterful Paper Flowers

August 3, 2017

Laura Staugaitis

All images courtesy of Tiffanie Turner and Watson-Guptill, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright Aya Brackett.

We’ve long admired the breathtaking botanical artwork crafted by San Francisco-based artist Tiffanie Turner (previously here and here). Combining her architectural training with a love of the natural world, Turner has pioneered a seemingly infinite number of techniques to craft incredibly lifelike flowers from everyday materials. And, after years of refining her unique art form, her debut book The Fine Art of Paper Flowers will be published on August 22nd.

In her comprehensive photo-filled 254-page book, Turner starts from the ground up, detailing materials and basic techniques, doling out dye recipes, and offering species-specific construction guides for leaves, stems, and buds. Finished projects range from delicate cosmos to peonies the size of a fully-grown person, and include options for personal accessories like everlasting boutonnieres and flower crowns that channel Frida Kahlo. Turner generously shares every aspect of her years of acquired knowledge in her friendly voice, with step-by-step instructions that read somewhere between a cookbook and a novel. The Fine Art of Paper Flowers is currently available for pre-order in The Colossal Shop.

And, if you live in the Chicago area or would like to visit our fair city, we are thrilled to be hosting Tiffanie for two workshops and a book signing on September 26th. Tiffanie will be teaching how to make Cosmos or Double Bomb Peonies (or both!) in an intimate workshop setting held at Colossal’s HQ. There will also be a free book signing, where copies of Tiffanie’s book will be available for purchase. Tickets and info for the workshops can be found in The Colossal Shop.

 

 



Art History

A Replica of the Parthenon in Germany Constructed from 100,000 Banned Books

July 5, 2017

Christopher Jobson

The Parthenon of Books, 2017.
 Steel, books, and plastic sheeting.
 19.5 × 29.5 × 65.5 m. Commissioned by documenta 14, with support from the Ministry of Media and Culture of Argentina.

South American conceptual artist Marta Minujín has just installed a towering new architectural installation in Germany called The Parthenon of Books, a scaffold replica of the famous Greek temple clad in 100,000 copies of banned books. The piece is currently on view in Kassel, Germany as part of a 100-day art exhibition called Documenta 14.

Minujín worked with students from Kassel University to identify 170 titles that have been historically banned worldwide by various institutions, and then sought help from the public to obtain donated copies. The books were then wrapped in a protective plastic coating to shield them from the elements while allowing visitors to easily identify each title.

An earlier version of The Parthenon of Books was first installed in 1983, referencing an event in Minujín’s native Argentina where books where confiscated and locked up as part of a military junta. This new iteration rests on a site where Nazis burned books by Jewish and Marxist writers in 1933 as part of a broad campaign of censorship.

The Parthenon of Books will be on view through mid-September and you can see more photos at the Instagram hashtag #parthenonofbooks. (thnx, Alice!)

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Art

Fragmented Ink Paintings on Arrays of Vintage Books by Ekaterina Panikanova

June 12, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Spread across the opened pages of books pinned against the wall like insect specimens, artist Ekaterina Panikanova (previously) creates ink paintings that appear like fragments of memory. As with the content of old books, the subjects of each work appear from a different era, engaged in mysterious activities or moments while accompanied by recurring images of lace, layer cakes, animals, and explosions of ink. Occasionally an image is permitted to span several book spreads, but is often interrupted by a new idea that appears to be inserted like a misplaced puzzle piece.

Panikova was born in Russia and now lives and works between between St. Petersburg and Rome. You can see more of her recent work at Z2O Galleria.

 

 



Design History Photography

A Look Inside Europe’s Most Enchanting Libraries by Photographer Thibaud Poirier

June 8, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Trinity College Library, Dublin, 1732

Over the last year, photographer Thibaud Poirier has traveled across Europe to photograph some of the world’s most incredible libraries. The series includes both historic and contemporary libraries with a special emphasis on the varied designs employed by architects. Poirier captured each image when the buildings were closed and empty of people to focus entirely on structure and layout. From his statement about the project:

Like fingerprints, each architect crafted his vision for a new space for this sacred self-exploration. These seemingly minute details are everywhere, from the balance of natural and artificial light to optimise reading yet preserve ancient texts to the selective use of studying tables to either foster community or encourage lonely reflection. The selection of these libraries that span space, time, style and cultures were carefully selected for each one’s unique ambiance and architectural contribution.

So far Poirier has photographed 25 libraries and says he intends to add to the series as time permits. If you liked this, also check out his Berlin Interiors series.

Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Paris, 1850

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Salle Labrouste, Paris, 1868

Bibliothèque de l’Hotel de Ville de Paris, Paris, 1890

Grimm Zentrum Library, Berlin, 2009

Stadtbibliothek, Stuttgart, 2011

Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne, Salle Jacqueline de Romilly, Paris, 1897

Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra, 1728

 

 



Art History Illustration

Why Knights Fought Snails in the Margins of Medieval Books

June 1, 2017

Christopher Jobson

When thinking of a symbolic foe to battle in a medieval book, many creatures come to mind: dragons, wolves, or perhaps rabbits, but the poor defenseless snail? It hardly makes for a powerful image. But it turns out, as with most artwork, the answer is more symbolic than literal. In the 1960s a book historian named Lilian Randall thought the illustrations found in the margins of illuminated books required more attention, leading to the publication of her own book, Images in the Margins of Gothic Manuscripts. In this episode of Vox Almanac, Phil Edwards shares what Randall learned as she investigated the curious snail fights.