- Triangular Press
A monograph to accompany a mid-career retrospective for a noted book artist
Barbara Tetenbaum’s primary medium is the Vandercook sp15 proofing press. Like many book artists, she uses type and old advertising cuts in her work, but she also integrates linoleum blocks, telephone wire and other printing artifacts: anything that can be made type-high is fair game. Her approach to bookmaking happens on press; she may begin with a rough idea, but improvises freely once the paper begins feeding through. The process has more in common with painting than printmaking, and the resulting pages are host to many different voices.
We hoped to borrow some of that energy in preparing a catalogue for her mid-career retrospective. Half-Life contains four parallel and over-lapping narratives: an illustrated chronology of Ms. Tetenbaum’s career; an interpretive essay, in English and German, from one of the European book arts community’s most respected critics and practitioners; multiple views of each of the 36 books in the exhibition; and an annotated catalog of advertising cuts from Ms. Tetenbaum’s working collection – all tucked comfortably, along with nine full-sized page reproductions, into 48 pages.
The book does not stand on ceremony. It contains all of the elements of a traditional catalogue, and proceeds according to chronology; but the underlying structure – while worked-out and coherent – encourages intermingling among the four narrative strands, and reveals Ms. Tetenbaum’s work in a way that is true to her spirit – serious and wry; mechanical and visceral – without aping her form.