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San Francisco Center for the Book: (retro)(intro)spection

Deadline: September 1

San Francisco Center for the Book
San Francisco, CA

Alisa Golden, author of Making Handmade Books
Lisa Beth Robinson, Somnambulist Tango Press
Steve Woodall, Achenbach Collections Specialist, Legion of Honor Museum

What’s in a word? What about a prefix?  Retro- can be used to describe furniture, artifacts, graphic design, fashion, and interiors. Retroactive (taking effect from a date in the past), retrocede (to go back), retrocognition (backward knowing) and retrograde (moving backwards) are words that lead us to the past where might learn something about where we are in the here-and-now.

The etymology of intro- encourages artists to look within, gain and gather perspective. What about the suffix -spection? It means to look, see or observe, having evolved from the Latin Specere (to look at) and the Proto-Indo-European language root spek (to observe).

Artists are frequently inspired by the past and aim to make work which speaks to future audiences, subsequent generations. Tandem processes of introspective questioning and retrospective storytelling often come together in the artist book format—giving reader and creator the opportunity for personal reflection.

Artists books tell us stories by using narrative, structure, materials. Each of these aspects help the artist to communicate a perspective, one that is singularly unique to themselves and the work. (retro)(intro)spection seeks to explore the crossroads where artists books and artistic process intersect. When do our amorphous ideas become real, at what point? What is the role of introspection and one’s personal past when applied to artists books? In the act of looking back as well as in, the curators hope that artists will be inspired by their body of work, regarding the path or discovering the throughline that brings them to the present, creating work to speak not only to future audiences, but also to subsequent generations.

Media: This exhibit is open to handmade book and paper arts related works created either in edition or as a one-of-a-kind work. Artists’ books, sculptural books, book objects, altered books, installations, zines, and broadsides are all encouraged.

Fees: $20 for up to 8 images


Later Event: September 1
Keyholder Residency Program