Artist Books

Stephanie Damoff

I explore book forms as another way to present visual imagery and follow the meandering of thought. As in much of my work I try to challenge ways of seeing and invite new perspectives on the world.

Chiasma

These sculptural bookforms challenge perception, as well as ways of thinking and experiencing the world. As narrative structures they are flexible, bending back, reflecting and augmenting what has come before. Our everyday experience with the world—our bodily engagement with it—follows the twists and turns of the attention, reacting to stimuli, narratives arcing; moment by moment we breathe the world in and become new. These chiasmic books double back again and again, reflecting the position of the viewer in the world. The viewer moves intentionally through (along) the lines of the book, opening and closing pages and reordering the composition, neither progressing nor regressing, just being, experiencing, perceiving. The body absorbs and gives back. The books in this cyanotype chiasma series can be folded into more possible configurations than I can count. The book covers are made of cotton construction paper and pigmented kozo. They are sections of a large pour (8’ x 12’) handmade paper sheet made by my class in a workshop at Women’s Studio Workshop in 2019 led by Hong Hong. We divided the finished sheet among ourselves at the end of class.

Sine Out of Time

"Chiasma: Sine Out of Time" double-sided cyanotypes on cotton paper, with cover of kozo and cotton construction paper, $400 "Chiasma: Sine Out of Time" double-sided cyanotypes on cotton paper, with cover of kozo and cotton construction paper, $400 "Chiasma: Sine Out of Time" double-sided cyanotypes on cotton paper, with cover of kozo and cotton construction paper, $400 "Chiasma: Sine Out of Time" double-sided cyanotypes on cotton paper, with cover of kozo and cotton construction paper, $400

Chiasma/Reflecting

"Chiasma/Reflecting" double-sided cyanotypes on cotton paper, with cover of kozo and cotton construction paper, $400 "Chiasma/Reflecting" double-sided cyanotypes on cotton paper, with cover of kozo and cotton construction paper, $400 "Chiasma/Reflecting" double-sided cyanotypes on cotton paper, with cover of kozo and cotton construction paper, $400 "Chiasma/Reflecting" double-sided cyanotypes on cotton paper, with cover of kozo and cotton construction paper, $400 "Chiasma/Reflecting" double-sided cyanotypes on cotton paper, with cover of kozo and cotton construction paper, $400

Eviscerated Reality

This accordion book is made of hardware cloth and handmade paper—hemp and pulped pages from a damaged copy of The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño. The novel is an account of the two elusive leaders of the visceral realism school of poetry and tracks their adventures in Mexico City and Europe. The two seem to spend more time scoring marijuana to sell than writing poetry. One narrator, an aspiring young poet, who seeks to tell the story through journal notes spends his time stealing books and pursuing women. The pulped pages—the viscera of the text—are caught by the metal frame and reconstituted into a sculptural artist book. The surviving fragments of the original text form concrete poetry that can be read according to the choice of the reader or in an act of bibliomancy: “end/meant/something/in and ourselves/silent/and yet,/have/but/discovered that/would’ve/with my/multiplying/complete/resigned/possible” is one reading. "Eviscerated Reality" was included in Unbound, an online artist book exhibition presented by the Chico Art Center.

"Eviscerated Reality" Hemp fiber, pulped pages from a damaged copy of <em>The Savage Detectives</em>, hardware cloth, $400 "Eviscerated Reality" Hemp fiber, pulped pages from a damaged copy of <em>The Savage Detectives</em>, hardware cloth, $400 "Eviscerated Reality" Hemp fiber, pulped pages from a damaged copy of <em>The Savage Detectives</em>, hardware cloth, $400