We all know books are for reading, but how about taking a step back and just looking at them instead? Admiring books at arm’s length like we do with art works? Can they speak to us in other ways, other than with the words between their covers?
Books are design objects and works of art beyond their literary purpose – this is the concept of the first edition of the Bibliophile and Book Design Biennale (Bienala de Carte Bibliofilă și de Carte-Obiect), open until March 31, in Bucharest.
Surprising shapes and concepts, colours and textures, all come together in the three rooms plus the adjoining spaces of the ground floor of the National Museum of Romanian Literature (Muzeul Național al Literaturii Române), not far from Gara de Nord, Calea Griviței St 64-66.
For paper enthusiasts there are plenty of sensations and impressions to experience at this exhibition: from (more or less) regular, quality print paper to elaborate watercolor and handcrafted paper, and including enormous strips of paper that make up the pages of a canoe-length book and on to sculptured paper, folded in 3D structures that arise when opening the first cover.
There is a multitude of fabric too, tapestry-like objects mixed with collage, or waxed cloth arranged as a book with covers and multiple folded pages.
There is even the traditional book format! Admire the elegant, leather bound books and some inspiring, attentively assembled, illustrated books before moving on to rotogravure and wood engravings and other, more experimental books.
This exhibition is a refreshing way of looking at a common object from a different perspective.