22 Jul 2021
Interests Mahara Gallery is the district public gallery for the Kapiti Coast. It offers a diversity of curated group and solo exhibitions in contemporary art and cultural heritage.
Is a book you can’t read a book? Yes, when it’s an artist’s book.
Artist’s books are not books about art or artists but books made as works of art in themselves.
They can range from finely crafted works with exquisite materials to compilations of collaged pages run through a photocopier and stapled.
Artist Paul Thompson, in an ongoing exploration and production of artist’s books, has created a new suite of a dozen handmade books called Asemica.
This is a faux-Latin plural of the word ‘asemic’ which means without semantics.
‘Asemic writing’ thus means writing that doesn’t make conventional sense – like music it is indecipherable.
"I do this because I am excited and stimulated by the idea and importance of the book and am driven by a creative response to express that fascination. Having produced many well-designed and interesting standard trade books on a wide range of art-related subjects the segue into artist's books, extending this experience and interest (some may say obsession) further, was a natural progression. I see myself as a creative bibliophile or perhaps a biblio-artist exploring the tremendous range of possibilities the field of the artist's book opens up.
So the dozen books, all with identical covers but individual and different ‘contents’, are similar to abstract art in that it is not about anything.
The viewer constructs their own meanings.
In this case the starting points are the ideas of language, writing and books themselves."