Salvador Dali is an eccentric Spanish born artist who is central to the identity of surrealism. He was born in a small town outside Barcelona, Spain. He was excessively neurotic and flamboyantly bizarre from a young age. It seemed that Dali was destined to be an artist, as he was talented and passionate early on. Though his paintings are notorious, he was a prolific and masterful at printmaking. He also worked in film, sculpture, fashion, advertising etc., taking on any creative pursuit, especially if money was involved. One of the most important things that spanned all throughout all of Dali’s mediums is that he worked with Freudian theory as a basis for much of his work. He obsessively built a language that was based on a psychoanalysis of his subconscious. Recycling imagery that had become symbolic of moments, fixations, and emotional states that occurred in his life. Dali is consistent in all of his work, no matter the medium, they are connected by common themes and symbolic meaning. (4)
It seems fitting that Dali was asked by Maecenas Press-Random House to illustrate their 1969 version of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The book was surreal before surrealism was established, some even say Lewis Carroll may have invented the surreal.
Dali was heavily involved in every step of designing and preparing the plates for his prints. It was an effective way to depict his drawings and watercolor/ink paintings. He also loved Printmaking because it was an easy way to make more money, and Salvador Dali adored money. Eventually he would authorize the reproduction of prints and pre-signed the paper that it would be printed on. This added around 350,000 authorized forgeries to his printmaking market, and even more unauthorized forgeries. (5)
When it came to illustrating books, he dedicated his full attention to the printmaking process. He illustrated many classics like such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote De La Manches, Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, and the Bible. Dali was more likely to use lithographs for illustrating, but he used the heliogravure process for both The Divine Comedy and Alice in Wonderland . (2) Heliogravure was ideal for high quality books because the incredibly rich range of color and tone. He was able to capture the nuances in his watercolor and ink paintings. The prints require a high quality thick paper and can only be printed in limited quantities, and this adds a significant amount of value to the Alice in Wonderland prints.
The result of this collaboration is an over sized loose leaf book that contains 12 Heliogravure illustrations, one for each chapter. Also, the frontispiece is an original signed etching in four colors. There are only 2,500 copies, so the prices are not nearly as sky high as his paintings. They still cost about 13k today. (3) The piece is both a book and an artistic portfolio. Whomever buys the book may either keep it in book form or take the prints out and frame them as a series of prints. Alice is represented as girl jumping rope, she has a vague presence and the viewer often has to search for her on each page. Dali weaves in many of his reoccurring themes, including the famous melting clock, which for him represents the omnipresence of time and the way it devours itself and everything around it. He also included grasshoppers looming in the corner of some of the prints, which he had an irrational phobia of, hinting that there is some sense of horror being depicted. He merges these ‘Dali Symbols’ with classic Alice in Wonderland imagery, such as the hare, tea cups, the caterpillar, the knights, the red queen etc. (1) The series is brightly colorful, chaotic, and nearly nonsensical, which seems to be an appropriate resolution to the marrying of these two different surreal aesthetics.
Down the Rabbit Hole
The Pool of Tears
The Caucus and a Long Tale
The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
Advice From a Caterpillar
Pigs and Pepper
Mad Tea Party
The Queen's Croquet Ground
The Mock Turtle's Story
The Lobster's Quadrille
Who Stole the Tarts?
1 “Dalinian Symbolism.” Dalí Paris, www.daliparis.com/en/salvador-dali/dalinian-symbolism
2 Park West Gallery. “5 Classic Books You Didn't Know Salvador Dali Illustrated.” Park West Gallery, Park West Gallery, 13 Nov. 2018, www.parkwestgallery.com/divine-comedy-classic-books-salvador-dali-illustrated/
3 Popova, Maria. “Salvador Dalí Illustrates Alice in Wonderland, 1969.” Brain Pickings, 2 Sept. 2016, www.brainpickings.org/2011/11/15/salvador-dali-alice-in-wonderland-1969/.
4 “Salvador Dali | TheArtStory.” The Art Story, www.theartstory.org/artist-dali-salvador-artworks.htm
5 Shank, Ian. “Why Salvador Dalí Signed 60,000 Sheets of Blank Paper-and Spawned Countless Fakes.” 11 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy, Artsy, 18 Apr. 2017, www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-salvador-dali-accidentally-sabotaged-market-prints
Imagine living in a world without art. For most people, prior to the fifteenth century, “images were not only one-of-a- kind but rare, generally found locked away in palaces, to which few had access, or affixed to the wall of a church.”1 The technology of printmaking, which began around 1400, suddenly made it possible to mass-produce images. The initial demand driving the early print market was the desire for playing cards and cheap religious pictures. Prints provided a means of mass- producing these objects that brought them within the reach of even the poorest members of society.
The first printed illustrations began to appear in Northern Europe in the early 1400s, at the end of the so-called Dark Ages. The 1400s was a time of tremendous social and economic change in Europe. The decimation of the Bubonic Plague left the population smaller, but richer and increasingly urbanized. Renewed world exploration brought new technologies and ideas, while the rise of secular power loosened the grip of religion, paving the way for the great artistic developments of the Renaissance.
The story begins with the development of the primitive craft of woodcuts pressed on paper to communicate simple ideas – playing cards and religious indulgences.
“Replicated images helped to structure private religious practice, transmit beliefs, disseminate knowledge about material facts, and graph abstract ideas. Mass-produced pictures made it feasible for people of all stations to possess them, thereby initiating a change in the role of images that eventually helped alter the definition of art itself.”2
In the early 1400s, the technology required to make paper arrived with travelers from China, coinciding with a widespread availability of cloth rags in Europe.3 Enterprising individuals in both the secular and the spiritual communities were quick to take advantage of this wonderful new technology. The first woodcuts were playing cards produced in Germany at the beginning of the 15th century.4 Wealthy Italians introduced the sport to Europe, using beautifully drawn, hand painted decks similar to ones used by the Mamelukes in Egypt.5 By the early 15th century card games were becoming popular with all classes, fueling a demand for cheap cards.
Liechtensteinsches Spiel, Woodcut deck of cards printed on two sheets of paper in Germany circa 1440-1450.6
In Germany an unknown entrepreneur saw his opportunity and German craftsmen were soon printing out cards by the hundreds. By the late 1400s cheap decks of playing cards had spread across Europe and card-making shops were being established everywhere.
Christian authorities were also quick to understand the potential of printmaking to produce cheap images, both to educate and reinforce church authority and to raise money. Images of saints were popular as protection, with different saints protecting against different calamities.
The first image below is the Buxheim St. Christopher, 1423. Latin Inscription translates as: "In whatsoever day thou seest the likeness of St Christopher, In that same day thou wilt from death no evil blow incur".
The church practice of selling Indulgences (time subtracted from one’s stay in purgatory before being allowed into heaven), previously confined mostly to the wealthy, could now be expanded to include even the poor. They functioned much in the way modern municipal bonds do today, being mass- produced and sold to finance the building of churches or the prosecution of crusades against heretics.
The development of metal-plate printing in the mid- fifteenth century got the attention of a rising class of artists emerging in the Northern Renaissance. Printing from a metal engraving was refined and first practiced by goldsmiths and armorers. Etching and engraving on a metal plate allowed the artist to produce works with much greater detail and fine shadings than woodcut reliefs, approaching the subtlety of painting. The earliest examples of prints as art also originate in Germany, with the production of works by an artist known only as Master ES, a prolific individual thought to have created more than300 engraved plates, including this suite of playing cards, third image below.
By the end of the 1400s Martin Schoengauer and his protege, Albrecht Durer, solidified printmaking as a truly artistic medium. He began his training as a goldsmith, engraving copper plates in his twenties. In less than a century, printmaking had evolved from a simple craft to a respected artistic endeavor.
In this research, I would like to talk about some history of binding books in China. As is known to all, China is a country with an ancient civilization. The records of letters appeared as early as 4000 years ago. These letters revolved over a thousand years into the Chinese we use now. Printing, paper making and bindi8ng also evolved over thousands of years. Throughout the history pf the spread of Chinese characters, from oracle to the present, the way of communication has gone through many forms such as oracle bones, bronze, bamboo, silk, carving stones, rubbings, writing and printing. Among them, the oracle bones, bronze and stone carving can be seen the predecessor of books. However, they are not book and they do not have binding.
Jian ce binding is the earliest binding method in the true sense of China. it is a book made of bamboo and wood with holes in it. And all the pieces were connected by ropes. The title was putted in the back of the last bamboo piece. When the Jian ce was rolling up, we can see the title above the book. This kind of binding form were used during Shang and Zhou dynasties. When the paper was made and used in the book, this binding form was replaced by other binding forms.
Then, scroll binding and folded binding went into the history. Scroll binding form consists of four parts, namely, scroll, scroll, and belt. It is similar to Jian ce binding with different materials. The head of a roll is usually attached to a piece of paper or silk called "float", which is tough and unwritten. The head is then tied with a silk "band" to protect and bind the scroll. This kind of binding always used in binding drawing and writing works. Folded binding is a long scroll, along the book space, one back and one positive fold, forming a rectangular fold. The first and last two pages of hard paper binding form. It is totally different from the two binding forms I wrote before. It seems much like the books now. The ancient Buddhists, perhaps influenced by the Buddhist sutra binding from India, prefer to use the folded folder binding.
Then the butterfly binding and back binding appeared. These two binding methods were similar. Butterfly binding is the predecessor of back binding. In the process of long-term reading, the connected part of folding books is often broken. After breaking, there is a situation of one page and one page, which gives people enlightenment, and gradually appears the bookbinding system with pages. It appeared in the late tang dynasty and prevailed in the song dynasty. It is a binding form in which the leaves of the book are arranged according to the middle slit, the printed side is turned in and folded in half. Then the middle slit is used to align the pages of the book, stick to another wrapping paper with paste, and finally cut into a book. When people reading these kind of books, the pages just like butterfly and this is the origin of its name. However, people found that this kind of binding will make book has many white pages. Then, they change the direction of the fold. And this kind of binding is back binding.
Finally, line binding appeared. It is a binding form in which the pages are bound together with the front and back over. It used in the recent hundreds of China.
I really consider the traditional bindings are so amazing and they can bring me ideas to mix them with new things.
A book called: 《中华印刷通史》
Xu Bing was born in Chongqing China in 1955. His mother was a librarian and his father was the head of the history department at Peking University. In 1975 the Cultural Revolution was coming to an end in China. As a part of Mao Zedong's "re-education" policy he was moved into the countryside and forced to work as a sign painter making propaganda.This experience eventually became the foundation to the work he would make. In 1977 he returned to Beijing and enrolled in the Central Academy of Fine Art to study printmaking. He earned his masters in 1987, and later in 1990, moved to the United States because of the pressure being put on artists after Tiananmen Square. He lived in the States until being appointed the new vice president of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2008.
Xu Bing often uses calligraphy and sculpture in his work to explore his experiences with communication. He is most known for his piece Tianshu or Book from the Sky. This installation was made of rows of hanging scrolls that filled a room. On these scrolls were over 4,000 character that he had designed to look like like Chinese text but were actually meaningless.
Another piece he is known for is New English Calligraphy, a projected he started after living in the United States for four years. He designed characters that were made to look like Chinese but are actually made out of English words. He then gave lessons on how to write in these characters. When New English Calligraphy is displayed he often uses nursery rhymes to give an example.
Xu Bing started his tobacco projects when he was invited to be the artist-in-residence at Duke University in 2000. He was interested in the Duke Family history which led him to tobacco. This led to a series of work using cigarettes, and tobacco. The most known of these is a tiger skin rug made from around a half a million cigarettes. Tiger-skin rugs are a symbol go human dominance. “It confirms our superiority by transforming one of nature’s fiercest predators into a lifeless skin beneath our feet.” Xu Bing also compares the way fur and skin rugs can glamorize hunting with the way smoking can often be glamorized. Other projects that were a part of this series included prints on tobacco leaves, a tree with branches made of matches, and a compressed cube of tobacco with the words “light as smoke” on the top o
By: Storm Henry
The first records of paper-making in Japan originate to roughly 600 A.D. and one of the oldest binding methods in Japanese history is the stab binding technique. The stitch itself is rectangular in shape and offers a sturdy, grid-like structure to the book's contents. It is also often seen on the surface of the book rather than hidden as opposed to methods like a pamphlet stitch. The four main variations of stab binding are as follows: Hemp Leaf binding, Noble binding, Tortoise Shell binding, and Four Eye Binding (the most commonly utilized variation). These methods of binding were commonly used to make Orihon (folding) book and this structure is one of the oldest book forms in Japanese history. The Orihon was then followed by Detchoso (butterfly books) and were commonly used for hand copied manuscripts.
There are plenty of benefits to using a stab binding technique compared to a typical method like a pamphlet stitch. One of the said benefits is that the stab bind allows for a variety of textures, weights, and colors of paper to be used in the overall structure due to the stitch providing a durable hold.
Some great examples of stab binding can be seen in an online based shop called Fabulous Cat Papers. This lesser known shop is based out of Athens and was founded by a woman named Chara, who named the shop after her departed cat that lived to be 21 years old. She combines her love of embroidery and notebooks into one to create custom notebooks. Adding the embroidery to the notebooks gives them a unique, textured aesthetic. They are all made one hundred percent by hand and depict themes of anatomy as well as scientific illustration. The owner also takes inspiration from traditional Japanese paintings. Almost all of her notebooks are made using the stab binding technique.
Bonney, Grace. Design Sponge."Bookbinding 101: Japanese Four-Hole Binding".
Carey, Jay. The Met. "Playing with Paper: Suminagashi and Orizome" Aug. 2014.
The Center for Book Arts. "Monday Methods."Japanese Bookbinding".
American Bookbinders Museum. "Japanese Bookbinding" Jul. 2015.