Go See: “Blood on Paper: The Art of the Book,” Victoria & Albert Museum, London through June 29

May 15th, 2008


Anselm Keifer, Secret Life of Plants(2008) via Bloomberg

From April 15 to June 29, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is presenting a unique exhibition on the subject of books in art or of books as art. “Blood on Paper” is an exploration of how artists have interpreted and utilized the book medium. The works range from the conventional book format to large-scale installations and sculptures, such as Anselm Keifer’s enormous book made of lead (pictured).

“Blood on Paper” [Victoria & Albert Museum]
“Bacon’s Trash, Hirst’s Furniture Become Books: Martin Gayford” [Bloomberg]
“The Writing on the Wall [Financial Times]
“Works That Speak Volumes” [Financial Times]
“Blood on Paper: the Art of the Book” [The Independent]

Anthony Caro, Open Secret (2004) via Victoria and Albert

According to the museum, the books chosen for the exhibit are those that “reveal both the creative process and the soul of the artist in question.” The artists shown include masters Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, to contemporaries such as Anish Kapoor and Cai Guo-Qiang. Other artists from the 20th and 21st century include Louise Bourgeois, Anthony Caro, Eduardo Chillida, Francesco Clemente, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Sol Lewitt, Richard Long, Robert Motherwell, and Robert Rauschenberg.

Cai Guo-Qiang, Danger Book (2006) via Albert and Victoria

There are many versions of “wordless” books. Stains by Ed Ruscha, contains 76 pages, each having a splash. These splashes are “stains” (described as mixed media), one of them being blood, hence the show’s name. Though others may argue that ‘blood’ refers to “the creative blood that permeates though all these works.”

Robert Motherwell, El Negro (1983) via Albert and Victoria