Robert Seydel: “Ecstatic and melancholic”

News Section, Reviews

November 9th, 2015

 

(Review) A Picture is Always a Book by Robert Seydel 

BOOKFORUM

Thought Laid Bare: Notebooks by Artists and Writers

RICHARD KRAFT

November 12, 2015

 

Looking through the notebook of an artist or writer is a revelatory experience: To enter their laboratory, where they are free of the weight of expectation, is to witness the unpredictable process in which ideas, materials, forms are first conceived and tested, discarded or developed. Notebooks are mysteriously alive—thought laid bare. Notes, sketches, and collaged scraps reveal the strange and compelling metamorphoses that result when writers and artists experiment and play, opening the field of possibilities. What notebooks have—in comparison with more finely wrought, finished works—are imperfections and flaws that make for a different kind of complexity.

This syllabus offers a range of incarnations of the notebook—as sketchbook, scrapbook, album, diary, and repository. Some have been published in facsimile; others have been edited to some degree and typeset for publication. Cumulatively, they make an argument for work on a minor scale—no giant, blemish-free, stainless-steel balloon animals here. These works speak quietly, often of everyday things, and yet each leaves a deep impression that lingers long after the book has been put back on the shelf.

 

The Blue Notebook by Daniil Kharms

Artist’s Portfolio by Louise Bourgeois

Notebooks 1967-70 by Lee Lozano

Tablet: 1948-1973 by Ellsworth Kelly

A Picture Is Always a Book: Further Writings from Book of Ruth by Robert Seydel

Living Locally by Erica Van Horn

 

Read the syllabus in full at BOOKFORUM