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International scientific and artistic conference about artist's books „Artists’ book. Presence and absence”

Published 27 Mar 2024

On 21st and 22nd March, a scientific and artistic conference took place, organized by the Artist’s Book Studio of The E. Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław, the Book Art Research Studio and The Harivansh Rai Bachchan Contemporary Hindi Literature Research Studio of the University of Wrocław.

The goal of the conference titled „Artists’ book. Presence and absence”, was a deeper reflection about the various connections between book art and ‚absence’, and how this is expressed by the makers of these artefacts:  artists, typographers, bookbinders, designers, photographers, poets etc.

The programme included events in five places: the main meeting place was the conference room at „Center for Applied Arts. Innovation Center”, ul. gen. RomualdaTraugutta 19/21, and the first day was honored with vernissages in the Za Szkłem gallery (an international exhibition of artists from the USA, Lithuania, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Sweden) and in Gablota (an exhibition of teachers, students and artists more closely associated with the Artist’s Book Studio). In addition, refreshments for speakers and participants were organized in the Kitchen and Zaułek next to the conference room.

The conference opening was honored by the welcome of the guests by the vice-rectors of both institutions: dr. hab. Beata Mak-Sobota, vice-rector of the Academy of Fine Arts for teaching and student affairs, and prof. Stefan Kiedroń, vice-rector of the University of Wrocław for finance and development. Then, a lecture was delivered by dr. Anita Wincencjusz-Patyna, a special guest. She asked a question about children’s books, which as a genre often overlap with other forms of art. After that, regular speeches began, which in this panel concerned the definition of artist's book and problems related to its creation: dr. Paweł Bernacki (UWr) An artist's book (absent); dr Adriana Wierzba (Academy of Fine Arts Wr) Between traditional and artistic books. Art responding to absence; dr. Anna Folta-Rusin (UJ) Art book - concept and interartistic conflict (based on the example of cooperation between Witold Wojtkiewicz and Roman Jaworski).

After a break, the speakers discussed the nuances of creating material books: from marbled papers (dr. Emilia Dziewiecka (Museum of Papermaking in Duszniki-Zdrój), Patterned papers by Stefan Szczerbiński (1892–1972) from the collection of the Museum of Papermaking in Duszniki-Zdrój as evidence of old bookbinding techniques), through the Ossolineium bookbinding workshop in Lviv and in Wrocław (dr. Dorota Sidorowicz-Mulak (ZNiO) Activities of the Ossolineum bookbinding workshop in the years 1912-2023), to the construction of book cover in a relationship to its contents (Katarzyna Kubiś, M.A. (UAM) What did the bookbinder mean, i.e. about tradition of referring to the content of the book in the artistic binding, based on the works of 20th-century bookbinders from Poznań), and problems related to the cooperation of different specialists on a joint project (dr hab. Katarzyna Krzak-Weiss (UAM) Jan Kuglin - Leon Wyczółkowski. About the Poznań meeting of two artists).

A longer break in between sessions allowed for a refreshing walk thorugh the park, to take part in exhibition openings at Plac Polski. After that, seven more speeches took place:

Ph.D. Marcin Czerwiński (UWr) From low-volume to artistic miniature books. An attempt to outline the issues

Aleksandra Szlęk, MA (ASP Wr) A catalog of absence

prof. Barbara Łydżba-Kopczyńska (UWr) Heritage science. Non-invasive material testing of manuscript artefacts

Aleksandra Ćwikowska, MA (Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw) Manuscript in the sole - conservation of the 2011 book-object by Magdalena Haras

dr Dorota Ucherek (UWr) "Cegła" Literary Magazine in the context of art book theory

Dr. Rafał Werszler (UWr) The issue of written content retained in a work of art

Ph.D. Magdalena Wosik, dr Joanna Skrzypiec-Żuchowska (ASP Wr) BOOKmacherzy exhibition series. Book design and its prototype as an artist’s book.


Second day of the conference began with an international panel in English, broadcast online:

prof. Sarah Bodman (UWE Bristol, Anglia) Lost and Found: artists’ books, absence and existence

prof. Ioulia Akhmadeeva (UMSNH, Meksyk) Experiences of the universitary multidisciplinary project „Chamuco. The Devil is around” (2018-2022, Michoacán, Mexico)

dr Katrina Whitehead (University of Huddersfield, Anglia) The Wheatley Dossiers: Read or Play?

mgr Dorota Kopacz-Thomaidis (ASP Wr) Annotations, Compilations and Marginalia. Literary antecedents of the artist’s book

mgr Tatiana Potts (Western Caroline University) Glimpse into City of Tajtania.

The rest of the conference included two more panels; one discussing subsequent threads taken up in artists' books and on their peripheries: dr. Michalina Lubaszewska (UJ) What is hidden out in the open. Some notes about Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit; dr. Katarzyna Bartos (AMuz Wr) Elusive synesthesia in musical scores; dr. Monika Aleksandrowicz (ASP Wr) Artist’s book as a pandemic and post-pandemic diary.

The last panel is two non-European topics: Hindi poetry and a travel diary from Mexico (dr. Teresa Miążek (UWr) Indian ways of commemorating the poet between literature and art - examples from Hindi poetry; dr. Anna Juchnowicz (ASP Wr) "Libro-Papalote" – a diary from a journey to Mexico). In the last presentation, titled Artist’s book on the Polish publishing market in 2010–2023, dr. hab. Agata Walczak-Niewiadomska (UŁ) summarized the presence (and absence) of artist’s books based on library statistics.


After the conference, a publication is planned to be published by the E. Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław, in cooperation with the University of Wrocław Publishing House. We would like to thank everyone for their interest and participation in the conference.


Scientific commitee

prof. Ioulia Akhmadeeva (UMSNH, Mexico)

prof. Tomasz Bierkowski (ASP K)

prof. Stefan Kiedroń (UWr)

dr hab. Ewa Repucho (UWr)

dr hab. Katarzyna Krzak-Weiss, prof. ucz. (UAM)


Artistic commitee

prof. Sarah Bodman (UWE Bristol)

prof. Aleksandra Janik (ASP Wr)

prof. Anna Janusz-Strzyż (ASP Wr)

prof. Jacek Szewczyk (ASP Wr)

dr hab. Magdalena Wosik (ASP Wr)


Organizing commitee

dr Paweł Bernacki (UWr)

dr Mariusz Gorzelak (ASP Wr)

dr Anna Juchnowicz (ASP Wr)

dr Jakub Maciej Łubocki (MNWr)

dr Teresa Miążek (UWr)



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