Helaba Kunstsammlung im MAIN TOWER Frankfurt.

Artist's books from the collection of MMK and MAIN TOWER

In autumn 2011, a project, up to now unique, arose in the course of the great jubilee exhibition of the MMK (Museum for Modern Art): Together with DekaBank and the German Savings Banks and Giro Association (DSGV), Helaba arranged the exhibition “Parallels” on its premises.

“Parallels” came into being as a joint project of Helaba, DekaBank and the DSGV. The three institutions were the main sponsors of the great jubilee presentation “MMK 1991 – 2011.  20 years of Presence” and displayed highlights from the photographic collection of the MMK in parallel at their head offices in Frankfurt and Berlin.

In the form of a small gallery exhibition of photographs, Helaba devoted itself to the “artist’s book”. On show, were exhibits from Noboyushi Araki, Lothar Baumgarten, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Ed Ruscha and Wolfgang Tillmans from the MMK collection, which were only seldom made accessible to the general public. Many of the artists whose works were displayed are also represented in Helaba’s art collection. The presentation of their artist’s book was a good opportunity to get to know these artists from a new angle and make connections between the various positions.

The “artist`s book” – what is that exactly?

Artist`s books are works of art, which make the book the object of an artistic concept. Unlike text illustrations, or an exhibition catalogue, the book itself becomes the work of art.

A book offers artists an extraordinary number of possibilities for self-expression: In addition to the concept and content, the selection of typography, paper, book cover or binding, plays a decisive role. For the artist, there is the particular appeal of compiling a miniature exhibition in book form to disseminate his/her thoughts, concepts and aims.    

A special feature of the artist’s book compared with other artistic media is that it gives observers room for their own fanciful approach to the book as work of art. It is not intended to inform, to refer or document and therefore does not even suggest a sequence in which pages of the book should be turned. Its peculiarity in comparison with other art works: You can always take it in your hands again, read it and browse … and always find new inspiration.

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