The paper examines the mutual relations of printmaking and artist’s books, analyzing artworks made with these combined medium. The artist’s book represents continuance of the expansion of printmaking medium, as form of intermedial, synthetic and spatial printed object. History of the artist’s book reveals how it changed and under what reasons, yet, recent expansion of new technologies and other visual means sidelined this medium in further development. Since the book is the only “living” art object that integrates the observer (e.g. the interactivity of flipping the page), it differs from fine art print, and develops under own principles. New technologies and contemporary curatorial practices enabled artists to broaden this discipline completely independently from basic principles of the printmaking art. Although poorly researched and insufficiently represented in local art scene, still this medium formulates own language, and through the works of artists we have as testimony, brings to contemporacy what it lacks most of – intimacy. Through the first postulate – immediate relationship with the observer – artist’s books propose to us that there should not be any more such thing as common place, accessible to everyone. The artists who explore personal poetics through this medium, use space, time, technology and observers as the material for their work.
The book decline standard display cases because integral part of it is the audience and interaction with it. This is the reason why artist’s book transcends traditional printmaking and lean towards new visual forms. Video, sound, moving image, digital performance, conceptual albums give space for new visual and interactive interpretation of artistic ideas. Although the medium incorporate elements of printmaking, painting and sculpture practices (sculpture’s book, material work), they are incapable to transfer the artist’s idea to the XXI c. man. Even some of the reasons for the introduction of digital technologies may be just a mere experiment, still the limits within this medium do not exist. Many theorists advocate a general idea of the “death of art”, but the case is the horizon of artist’t book awaits further exploration, which makes the medium anything but “dead”. In Serbian art scene these artworks are present either as experiment in artists expression, or as full explication of their ideas in absolute form of artist’s book.
Keywords: artist’s book, culture, printmaking, society, technology.