This paper presents the findings of a case study designed to understand more about materials, methods and themes of Australian artists’ books and their preservation issues in collections. Artists use a huge diversity of materials and methods in the creation of artists’ books, which might make these books difficult to preserve in a library or gallery collection context. Based on interviews with five prominent Australian book artists, collectors and curators, this paper suggests that artists choose materials that reflect or express the artistic, social, and political themes of their work, as well as the long historical traditions of bookbinding, printmaking, printing, typography etc, that their work continues. However, the interviewees were also very engaged in the issues of collecting, curating, and preserving these materials. The findings of this study confirm that access to archived information about the artist’s themes, intention, and working methods would be invaluable for all aspects of collection management. Thus, there is a need to have a coherent written policies to set rules for what to include or exclude from an artists’ books policy in libraries and art collections in Australia.
An investigation of materials, methods and meanings in the work of contemporary Australian book artists