Richesses du livre pauvre
First there was poor art (arte povera). Enter the «poor book»: a definition that is well chosen for artists’ books, made with limited means, with very few copies (at least one but not more than six), which have few readers but will always be read … The lovely title Richesses du livre pauvre(Wealth of a poor book), introduces the catalogue of an exhibition, presented by the collection of Daniel Leuwers, a poet in his own right, close to René Char. But it also works as a manifesto in praise of this type of creation that brings together in one same family Mallarmé, the illuminators of the Middle Ages and the Surrealists. The creators presented in this third volume (two other retrospectives took place in 2003 and 2006) are all contemporary: Leuwers himself with Viallat or Alexandre Hollan, Jean-Dominique Rey with Béatrice Casadesus as well as Michel Butor, André Velter, Henri Meschonnic, Jean-Claude Pirotte, Alechinsky. They are often by pairs: the artist book then entails a sort of state of grace between the poet and the painter.
• Richesses du livre pauvre par Daniel Leuwers, Gallimard, 2008, 200 p., 39 €, ISBN : 978-2-07-012307-0.
• Not to be missed: the exhibition at the priory of Saint-Cosme (Ronsard’s home, near Tours) until 4 January 2009
Review published in the newsletter #110 - from 20 November 2008 to 26 November 2008