Bibliotheca | A Group Exhibition

8 January - 19 February 2005

Exhibition Dates: January 8 - February 19                     


Our annual thematic group exhibition explores the relationship between photography, books and reading, featuring Canadian and international artists.


In a project that has spanned many years, Candida Höfer (b. Eberswalde, Germany, 1944) has focused on public spaces, including libraries, museums, schools, banks and offices. Her images straddle the line between architectural studies and straight typographies, resulting in photographs that capture both the beauty of the space, as well as the presence of humanity despite the absence of people. In her photograph of Teylers Museum in Haarlem, the viewer hovers above an 18th century library (built in 1784, it is the oldest part of this institution), and can reflect upon the reverence with which we have historically viewed books.


For over ten years, Abelardo Morell (b. Cuba, 1948) has been photographing books. The resulting black and white prints highlight the aesthetic qualities of size, shape, and texture, and explore how these are changed by the elements and time. His images also belie a fascination for the content inside of the books, giving the viewer glimpses of text and imagery that pique our imagination to what may lay unrevealed. This work was published in the monograph A Book of Books in 2002 by Bulfinch Press.


The work of Victor Schrager (b. Bethesda, Maryland, 1950) also explores books’ physicality through colour photographs of books which lack titles or identifying information on their covers. Lacking such distinguishing features, they become abstracted into geometric formations of colour, light, and shadows, in essence transforming what is highly intellectual into something purely aesthetic.


In her series “The Stacks” Alison Rossiter (b. Jackson, Mississippi, 1953) provides another view of the book-object. By laying each book open on a sheet of gelatin silver paper, and exposing the paper to the light of an enlarger, she creates unique photograms. Each book, though devoid of defining characteristics, nonetheless possesses great character, while the fanning pages suggest that reading is, in fact, an active pursuit.


While other photographers have focused on the three-dimensional object-quality of books, Sanaz Mazinani (b. Tehran, Iran, 1978) has flattened the books in her series “Book Case”. By realizing her images of book covers as large colour prints, she emphasizes the beauty of books from different eras, while emphasizing the mystique behind their contents.


The great documentary photographer André Kertész (b. Budapest, Hungary, 1894-1985) was so interested in people reading that he published an entire book of photographs about the subject. (On Reading, Grossman Publishers, 1971) Our exhibition will feature a photograph from his rooftop series that beautifully captures the intimate relationship between a reader and his book.


Photographer, educator, and book-maker Peter Sramek (b. Toronto, 1951) has been creating photography-based books for over 20 years. At times using his own photographs, as well as found imagery, and utilizing different binding techniques, he creates books of great beauty, imbued with emotion, humor, and wit. A selection of these books will be on display in vitrines.