The Library of Alexandria was reputed to be the largest collection of knowledge in the Ancient World, housed in resplendent buildings based on Greek architecture, in the Egyptian port of Alexandria. The library was conceived in the Ptolemaic dynasty around 300BC and survived, albeit in reduced circumstances, until Pope Theophilus destroyed the last building in 391AD – an existence of over 600 years. What is known of the library is a mixture of history and legend, some of which appears in the book Art & Lies by Booker prize winning UK author Jeanette Winterson. In the novel she writes about an army of small boys living amongst the shelves, finding scrolls for readers.
My artists’ book takes the form of a modified accordion binding with layers of text and image: in the gloom an owl, symbol of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and patron of the Library of Alexandria, watches over the boys as they scramble up and down makeshift ladders. Overlaying the ladders is Greek text from Aristotle: a passage from Metamorphoses in which he talks about the superiority of the artist, a scroll that must surely have been part of the Library’s collection!
|Title||Art & Lies|
|Place of Publication||Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia|
|Subject||The Library of Alexandria|
|Author of Text/Poet||Jeanette Winterson|
|Image/ Illustration Process||Reduction lino cut in three colours with hand-cut text and images|
|Book Structure/ Binding Method||Modified accordion binding with wrap covers|
|Paper Stock||Canson Mi-Teintes covers and pages with reduction lino cut on Japanese washi|
|Edition Size||Edition of 14|
|Signed and Numbered?||Yes|