Artist’s Book & Treasures in The Royal Library

artists-book-Royal-Library-Copenhagen-01Thoughts About the Artist’s Books Roots
or Diamonds in “The Black Diamond”


Time: 13 February 2016 – 18 March 2017
Location: The Royal Library, The Black Diamond, Copenhagen


The Heart Book, 1550. Oldest Danish Manuscript

During our art journey to Denmark we have visited The Royal Library in Copenhagen. The Royal Library contains numerous historical treasures. The library was founded in 1648 by King Frederik III. The old building of the Slotsholmen site was built in 1906. In 1999 a new building from the black marble and glass adjacent to the old one known as the Black Diamond. Connection between old and new architecture maybe is the most important feature of the Danish architecture.

I was very pleased when I saw a fantastic exhibition “Treasures in The Royal Library”. The Exhibition was very professional made.

In the article I show few artist’s books of contemporary artists to illustrate how old structures affected on the creation of modern artist’s books.


Dunhuang Roll, Buddhist Scroll, 800-900 AD

Elena Panayotova, 2002. Artist's Book

Elena Panayotova, 2002. Artist’s Book

It’s shows books written in 800-900 years, manuscripts and first printed book in Europe, also manuscript of composer Johann Sebastian Bach, handwritten texts of Hans Christian Andersen and Danish write – Karen Blixen.

If we look on contemporary artist’s book we see that the structures, forms, bindings, materials, printing methods of artist’s book are deeply connected with the history of a Book. We will say stronger and clearer – creators of artist’s books use what was invented 3000  years ago or earlier, with some private interpretation. And that is normal. Artists usually do not care about the structures and forms they use in an artist’s book.

More text and images



Kestutis Vasiliunas

© Circle “Bokartas”, 2017