The Book Lovers at Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw

The Book Lovers at Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw


Design: Jakub de Barbaro.

October 4, 2013

The Book Lovers: The Novel as an Art Form
Public programme of lectures and performances
26–27 October 2013

Organiser: Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor Cricoteka in Kraków

Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
ul. Pańska 3, 00-124 Warsaw, Poland

Partners: the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, M HKA in Antwerp

Guest speakers: Bart de Baere, Barbara Browning, Angus Cameron (on behalf of Goldin+Senneby), Sebastian Cichocki, Guy de Cointet, Ann Demeester, Jan Gondowicz, Yayoi Kusama, Chus Martínez, Tom McCarthy, Momus, Simon Morris, Ingo Niermann, Mark von Schlegell, Lindsay Seers

Curators: David Maroto and Joanna Zielińska

The Book Lovers is a systematic attempt to study the phenomenon of artist novels. There are some examples of artist novels in the 20th century, but it is only in the last fifteen years that an increasing number of artists have begun to choose the novel as an artistic medium. Surprisingly, there is a lack of research on this subject. This circumstance gives rise to a situation in which artists who write novels are not aware of others doing the same. The Book Lovers wants to create public awareness of this silently widespread artistic trend. The project develops in a number of different stages. Its base is the creation of a collection of artist novels with a parallel online database, which is complemented with a series of exhibitions and public programmes, a pop-up bookstore and a publication.

There are some artists who simply write novels and others who use the novel as an artistic medium, as valid as performance or video could be. The latter, who are the main object of the present research, are artists that seek a protracted engagement of the spectator with their work. Their creative strategies, focused on process rather than end results, are opposed to the predominant conventions of art institutions and the art market. The artist novel introduces elements particular to narrative literature into the visual arts, like fiction, identification and issues of authorship. All of them point to a certain interest in undermining notions of personal identity and in creating new spaces for intersubjective exchange. Situated in a historical perspective, the artist novel seems to be a derivation of relational aesthetics rather than of conceptual art, even though the creation of works that are purely textual might lead one to think otherwise. Artist novels also enable mass production and distribution, and become a means for intervention in the public sphere.

The presentation, organised by Cricoteka in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Warsaw, will take the form of a discussion platform dedicated to the phenomenon of the artist novel viewed from different perspectives. The two-day programme will study the crossover between narrative literature and the visual arts: from the space of the page to the novel understood as a relational object, a form of public intervention—from uncreative writing to the social life of the book. There will be a wide range of presentations: lectures, interviews and performances, prepared especially for the project. It is hoped that, together with the invited specialists, and with the help of the variety of research methods employed, this investigative programme will succeed in amplifying the notion of literary space and arrive at a new way of regarding the spectator-turned-reader.

More about the project at:

Project subsidized by The Ministry of Culture and the National Heritage in Poland, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Flemish Representation at the Belgian Embassy.

Cricoteka was founded by Tadeusz Kantor in 1980 to fulfill parallel functions as museum, archive, gallery and research centre, the institution is about to face the important challenge of creating a new, expanded programme of activities on its new site, which will be open in 2014 in Kraków (More at

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October 4, 2013

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