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"Look Books. Robbin Ami Silverberg" exhibition



The exhibition "Look Books. Robbin Ami Silverberg" will be on display in
the Rosenwald Gallery of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, University
of Pennsylvania, 6th floor, 3420 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, from June
18 through August 13, Mon  - Fri, 9 am - 5 pm. Opening reception on June
18th, 5pm - 8 pm.

         Look Books. offers a unique opportunity to view over 40 artist
books by Robbin Ami Silverberg.  Silverberg's artist books explore a wide
range of themes and styles, particularly when collaborating with others.
What is consistent to all  her work is an obsessive need to fully
articulate those ideas in every detail.  The structure & design, the
methods of production, the choice of materials and then, the process of
reading/viewing - are all essential aspects of the final work.
        Her concern results from the desire to maximize impact and
dialogue:  "I produce all aspects of my books. I make my paper - not just
because I love the material - but more so because I want total control
which includes activating the substrate."   The choice of plant, the fiber
preparation and its resulting tensile strength and shrink, the paper's
surface texture, form, color and sound, - all enhance the meaning of the
work.   In From Dreams to Ashes, 1995-99, for example, the paper is
embedded with unused matches & made from mugwort, (Artemisia vulgaris) a
common weed that was used in colonial times to stuff pillows in the belief
that it brought vivid and prophetic dreams.  The materials become a
cohesive and inseparable element of the work, offering both dreams and
destruction.  For the collaboration, Knitting Poetry, 1997, paintings are
used as paper wrappers that hold vertical gobelins.  The paper is made of
hemp, rag and, most importantly, cotton warp threads that tapestry artist
Christiane Wustinger sent Silverberg: thus, the mediums became meshed as
Silverberg created in paper a gesture equivalent to Wustinger's woven marks.
        Silverberg's books are crafted but the technique only empowers the
meaning and content.   In Emandulo  Re-Creation, 1997, Silverberg
orchestrated a collaboration about creation myths between 22 artists in
Johannesburg, South Africa.  In choosing as diverse a group as possible in
terms of demographics and artistic styles, the book's structure, a double
spine flip book, created a merging between both the resulting imagery that
can be mixed & matched - and the seemingly still stratified layers of
post-Apartheid culture.
         Most of Dobbin Books are interactive in structure, such that the
process of reading is an essential element of the work.  In titok (secret),
1996-98, 20 artists/writers were asked to share a secret that the
secretist, Silverberg, then transformed and incorporated into a 27 cube
labyrinth that even has a sound score on CD.  Through the act of touching,
smelling & listening to the cubes, examining their exterior facets and
interior details, the reader gains limited access to these secrets.  titok
is not a linear narrative with a definitive ending; it is the process that
interests the artist.

        Robbin Ami Silverberg made her first sculptural bookwork in 1979,
when she was an art student at Princeton University.  Subsequently, she
trained in bookbinding at the Werkstatt f=FCr Buchgestaltung, in Vienna,
Austria in the early '80's.  She  is self-taught in  papermaking.
Presently, she is Director of both Dobbin Mill  - a hand papermaking
facility - and of Dobbin Books - a collaborative artist book studio,
co-founded with Louise McCagg & Andr=E1s B=F6r=F6cz, both studios  in New Yo=
rk
City.  Her artwork, divided between solo artist books, collaborations and
large installations, can be found in collections such as the Smithsonian
Museum of African Art; Yale University; Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest;
and the Technikon Natal Gallery, Durban, South Africa. Silverberg has
exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally;  In Fall, 1999
she will have a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Public Library Gallery.

=46or more information about this exhibition at the University of
Pennsylvania Library please contact:
Greg Bear @ 215.898.7088 or via email <gbook5@pobox.upenn.edu>.

___________________________________

Greg Bear
Information Designer
Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library
3420 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
phone:215.898.7088      fax: 215.573.9079
e-mail: gbook5@pobox.upenn.edu
http://www.library.upenn.edu/etext


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