This monograph gives an overview of the work of artist Barbara Visser between 1987 and 2007. It was published to mark her award of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art 2008.
The significance of authenticity is an important element in Visser’s work. The designer has neatly resolved this by
working with repetition and reproductions. In all, nineteen photography-based projects are shown, the illustrations on the left-hand pages being printed in a coarse half-tone, the right-hand pages on glossy paper with extra varnish, the left-hand pages being printed on the other, matt, side of the paper. This is pursued so consistently that where a photo covers a whole spread the left-hand side of it is coarse and matt, the right-hand half sharp and glossy. The panel observed that such a difference between left and right was very rare: usually successive spreads differ in surface or printing technique, but here the alternation is between pages rather than openings. This calls for extra care with collation and requires thermoplastic binding.
There are other clever aspects to this book: the subheads are placed on the left and the chronology runs backwards. The typography is robust and agreeably sturdy.
The image on the cover, Breaking Down The Exhibition, ties in well with the reverse chronology. In fact the book has not one but two covers. As soon as you open the ‘outer’ cover there is another one inside, on equally stiff paper. This shows the exhibition before it was broken up. Most artists would want the most complete and representative overview possible of their work, but the good thing about this book is that it has itself turned into a work, and, as implied by the title, it does not aim to be complete.