The Mortimer Rare Book Room at Smith College has organized a retrospective exhibition of the book-related work of the graphic artist and sculptor entitled, Werner Pfeiffer (censor, villain, provocateur, experimenter): Book-Objects & Artist Books. Exhibition on view April-July 2008, Neilson Library, level 3.
At the opening reception on April 3rd, Pfeiffer assembled his artist book Out of the Sky: 9/11, his tribute to the victims of the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001. This book, with a prominent sculptural component, engages the reader/viewer as he or she assembles a series of printed segments to construct a model of the twin towers nearly 6 feet high. Images and names of victims of this terrorist attack are revealed as the sections are joined.
For more information, please see the Smith College press release.
The exhibition features 39 objects made by Pfeiffer using real books. He has “silenced” the books by gluing the pages together, and he also adds ropes, nails, clamps, and hooks. The intention is to comment on censorship and to provoke reactions from his audience. The exhibition also includes 8 of Pfeiffer’s artist books, a genre loosely defined as books wholly conceived of and produced as the vision of a single artist. These books usually contain printed text and illustrations, and in Pfeiffer’s hands, a sculptural element which invites the reader to interact with the book by manipulating it in a way other than the traditional one of turning pages.
Werner Pfeiffer, born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1937, has lived in the United States since 1961. He has served as a designer and art director on various projects and was appointed Professor of Art at Pratt Institute in New York City in 1969. His books, collages, drawings, prints, paintings, and sculptures have been shown internationally in nearly 200 group and solo exhibitions.
Mortimer Rare Book Room