“Salto de página. El libro de artista en el siglo XXI. Banco Sabadell Art Collection”, at the Alicante MUA

The Banco Sabadell Art Collection, together with the Museum of the University of Alicante (MUA), has organised the exhibition “Salto de página. El libro de artista en el siglo XXI. Banco Sabadell Art Collection”, which is open to visitors at the museum’s Sala El Cub exhibition hall from 17 February to 30 April 2023.

Over the last few years, the Banco Sabadell Art Collection has acquired an impressive collection of national and international artists’ books, giving rise to one of the few private collections of artists’ books in Spain. The exhibition, curated by Rocío Santacruz, director of ArtsLibris (International Artist’s Book Fair), takes visitors on a journey through this collection organised into five different areas: historical background, artists’ books, object books, photo books and self-edited books.

This journey begins with the origins of the artist’s book at the end of the 19th century, when artists first began to illustrate texts written by authors and poets, and continues through to the present day, with contemporary artists’ publications created using digital technology.

Marcel Duchamp said that an artist’s book is a book made by an artist. Putting this premise into practice, it was in the second half of the 20th century that the most avant-garde artists decided to use books as an instrument to break with traditional art and began to use this format to convey ideas, as conceptual artist Sol LeWitt explained.

The fundamental distinguishing feature of these books is their innovative spirit and their conception as a work of art; the book becomes viewed as an artistic entity in itself and a separate genre is created, joining other earlier forms such as paintings, sculptures and videos. This conception is still very much in existence today, as younger creators continue to dedicate part of their artistic practice to self-editing publications, taking ownership of the tools offered by modern technology.