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“Livre d’artiste” and “livre-objet”

Michel Wittock held various exhibitions at the Wittockiana showcasing the works of the Danish couple Kubach-Wilmsen and Jacqueline Guillermain, and was always happy to acquire one or more works by each artist for his own collections. Other “livres-objets” by Dominique Asselot, Jean Boghossian, Pascal Courcelles, Muriel de Crayencour, Hans Kooij, Félix Roulin, Marc Ver Elst and Jephan de Villiers are also conserved at the Wittockiana. The books in the collection made by Daniel Knoderer could also be considered as “livres-objets” in character.

Alongside these peculiar and innovative interpretations of the book and its appearance, it would be remiss to not mention the nine large original photographs of the bibliophilic “vestiges,” as they were seen by the Belgian artist Serge Anton.

This is a much more personal, even intimate, part of Michel Wittock’s collection. It is also very much still relevant today, as it concerns the work of contemporary artists who enjoy making “livres de peintre,” artist’s books, for their own pleasure and for the pleasure of their friends. It is in this spirit that the Wittockiana has organised, since opening its doors, many expositions of contemporary artists (Jo Delahaut, Léon Wuidar, Julius Baltazar, Jean Cortot, Bertrand Dorny, Mikhail Karasik…). The Wittockiana houses many of these artists’ works, designed by the painters and then entrusted to a master bookbinder.

In a similar vein, there are certain artists that, by transforming the book and freeing it from conventions and norms, endeavour to present the book, both the content and the container, in an infinity of different ways. This is what is commonly known as the “livre-object,” the object-book.