An artists’ book is an work of art in book format. A book as art in comparison to the art monographs representation of art. Many artists’ books have been published in Denmark since the end of the 1950s, but the Danish term kunstnerbøger, corresponding with the English term artists’ books, have never been enclosed in the way we speak of the book as an art format.
The strengths of the artists’ book also stand as its weaknesses in the matter of becoming accepted as an art form: At first glance it looks like a normal book. Furthermore the artists’ book is difficult to exhibit and does not have the interest of neither the galleries nor the art museums. But the artists’ book is an art form just like performance art, paintings and sculptures etc.
On the basis of an upcoming anthology on Danish artists’ books, the editors of the book, Thomas Hvid Kromann, Maria Kjær Themsen og Louise Sidenius have created the exhibition Danish Artists’ Books – The Exhibition. The exhibition at Overgaden is the first large presentation of Danish artist’ books since 1989 and provides an overview of the development of the Danish artists’ book from 1950s until today. Over 150 art works are to find at the exhibition, which shows both rare, unique and never before shown artists’ books by, among others, Sven Dalsgaard, Albert Mertz and Asger Jorn. The exhibition is a tribute to this artistic medium and the versatility that characterizes it. Here a book is not just a book, but a format, which in the hands of Danish artists have seen a variety of interpretations, from sculptural books to pamphlets.