Iam archive on year long public display

iam’s ‘Z-Shelves’, designed by Michael Farion; installed at the Whitechapel Gallery, 2011-12.

Public archive of iam catalogue.

Foyle Archive Room, Whitechapel Art Gallery, April 2011-March 2012.

Simon Morris commissioned the Canadian architect Michael Farion to design the Z-shelves in 1999, for the ‘bibliomania’ project. Finally, in 2010, and with the support of The Henry Moore Foundation and Arts Council England, the invisible bookshleves were fabricated by Dauphin Restoration in Oxfordshire. Farion’s brief was to design a transparent, self-standing book presentation unit in the spirit of Victor Burgin’s 1969 art work, Photopath. Which is to say, Farion was asked to produce an unintrusive sculpture that could function as a discreet frame for the books it holds, so that they could seemingly float like a constellation of covers and spines.

Farion states:

The design should be able to accommodate a small or large number of books and still look occupied. The basic conceptual stance is that the books, however they are arranged, create dynamic juxtapositions of positive and negative space. The bookshelf should not detract from the implied purpose of the exhibition, which is to display the artists’ books. The bookshelf will be ethereal and should disappear within any given environment. The design and material considerations must also contrast the solid tendencies of commercial bookshelf displays. Design is never created in a vacuum, and the inspiration for the block massing relates to the de Stijl and Bauhaus work of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Other influences included Carl Andre, Donald Judd and Sol Le Witt – to name but a few.”

During iam’s yearlong residency at the Whitechapel Art Gallery the Z-shelves will be on permanent display in the Foyle Reading Room. The imprint’s whole catalogue of bookworks and DVDs will be on display. Please ask the archivist on site if you would like any additional information on individual titles.

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