Booknesses: Taking stock of the book arts in SA

UJ - University of Johannesburg
03/08/2017 12:25:46

UJ will host a series of events focusing on artists’ books with two exhibitions, a Colloquium and associated workshops and walkabouts between March and May.

The UJ Art Gallery and FADA Gallery will respectively showcase a selection of artists’ books from the vast collection of Jack Ginsberg as well as a diverse range of recent book arts and book-objects from South African artists, designers and students which encompass traditional, experimental and digital responses to the book as an artwork.

According to David Paton, senior lecturer at the University of Johannesburg Department of Visual Art (Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture) and organizer/curator of Booknessess, it is important to gather the broad book arts community in South Africa to share and discuss diverse topics which relate to the book arts and to share their skills, knowledge and experiences of making, collecting and theorising the artist’s book in South Africa. “It is furthermore imperative to introduce South African artists, designers and students to international experts and keynote speakers in the field so as to make meaningful global connections”, he said.

A public conversation between Jack Ginsberg and William Kentridge on the theme of Making and Collecting will be moderated by Prof Jane Taylor at the UJ Theatre on 26 March 2017.

The programme includes:

- Booknesses: Artists Books from the Jack Ginsberg Collection: UJ Art Gallery, University of Johannesburg, Kingsway Campus, Johannesburg. Opening Saturday 25 March and running till 5 May 2017. This exhibition is curated by David Paton assisted by Annali Dempsey, Rosalind Cleaver and Jack Ginsberg and is accompanied by an extensive full-colour catalogue of the 258 book objects, historical and contemporary from both South African and international artists represented in one of the largest and most comprehensive exhibitions of artists’ books ever to have been held internationally. The catalogue contains essays by David Paton, Keith Dietrich, Pippa Skotnes, Robbin Ami Silverberg and Kim Berman in conversation with Jack Ginsberg and is edited by Robyn Sassen and will add extensive new knowledge to the book arts in South Africa. This much-anticipated exhibition and its catalogue showcase a small aspect of the remarkable Jack Ginsberg Collection of Artists’ Books which is internationally acknowledged respected and which is unique on the African continent.

- Booknesses: South African Artists’ Books: FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg Bunting Road Campus, Johannesburg. Opening Friday 24 March and running till 5 May 2017. Curated by David Paton, Eugene Hon, Gordon Froud and Rosalind Cleaver. The exhibition of over 100 works will be accompanied by an online catalogue.

- An international Colloquium, Booknesses: Taking Stock of the Book Arts in South Africa will be held at the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, Bunting Road Campus, University of Johannesburg from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 March 2017. It includes presentations in the form of practical demonstrations of work and papers presented by local and international book artists and those working with the book as an artwork. Papers and round-table discussions will be presented within the following fields of the book arts. Keynote speakers include Sarah Bodman: Senior Research Fellow for Artists' Books at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), University of the West of England, Bristol, UK, and Robbin Ami Silverberg, an artist and founding director of Dobbin Mill, a hand-papermaking studio, and Dobbin Books, a collaborative artist book studio in New York.

For more information visit


Saturday 25 March 2017 at 18:30 for 19:00. UJ Art Gallery - APK Campus
Opening of Booknesses: Artists Books from the Jack Ginsberg Collection

Sunday 26 March 2017 at 19:00 UJ Arts Centre Theatre
Public conversation between Jack Ginsberg and William Kentridge on the theme of Making and Collecting

Friday 24 March 2017 at 18:30 for 19:00. FADA Gallery, Bunting Road Campus
Opening of Booknesses: South African Artists’ Books:

Saturday 1 April 2017 at 10:00
Wednesday 5 April 2017 at 13:00
Saturday 8 April 2017 at 10:00
Saturday 22 April 2017 at 10:00
Wednesday 26 April 2017 at 13:00
Saturday 29 April 2017 at 10:00
Please book with

UJ Art Gallery: 011 559 2099 or
FADA Gallery: 011 559 1386 or
David Paton: 011 559 1117/8 or


UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg, produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA ( offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, expanding these fields beyond their traditional boundaries through internal and external collaborations. It has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education. Equipped with state-of-the art, custom-built facilities, the Faculty is staffed by highly regarded academics, architects, artists and designers.

For regular updates on the UJ Arts Centre follow @UJArtsCentre on Twitter or visit Account:
Precious Maputle
University of Johannesburg Arts & Culture
011 559 3058
UJ Arts & Culture: A Division of the Faculty of Arts Design and Architecture
Related Venue:
UJ Arts Centre, cnr Kingsway and University Road Auckland Park Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa