Hans Waanders: book as a principal medium

Fotoimpressie het Boek der Natuur, CBK, 2018 (foto's: Henk Woudsma)

Hans Waanders (1951-2001) has utilised many of the forms and mediums that, according to the former Fluxus artist Ken Friedman, have become associated with correspondence art and mail art, such as postcards, artists’ books, printed ephemera, rubber stamps, artists’ postage stamps, and posters of various kinds.

Of all of these forms and mediums it is the book that is Waanders’ ‘principle medium’. According to the Mexican conceptual artist Ulises Carrión, a key pioneer of the form, the book constitutes a medium in its own right and is ‘an expressive unity’ in which ‘the massage is the sum of all material and formal elements’. The self-reflexive, hybrid forms of bookworks and artists’ books have permitted Waanders more whimsical constructions than the historically bound traditions of painting and sculpture. There are formats such as notebooks, field guides, bird books, and atlases (along with dictionaries, almanacs, and stamp stockbooks and albums).

Waanders publications have also taken the form of accordions and leporellos’, rolled sheets, and box editions of loose, unbound sheets that, like his more conventional codex formats, have often utilized a splendid mixture of texture, images, photographs, words, and stamp prints, in addition to tipped- or pasted-plates and material.

Waanders undertook most of the copying, cutting, pasting, stamping, binding, and finishing singlehandedly, making his books in small editions raging from unique one-off copies to relatively larger runs rarely exceeding twenty-five copies. The reproducible nature of Waanders’ books is therefore subtly tempere by the manual methods of their contruction and their extrinsic, by-hand, additions and finished.

bron: Brilliant Absence, Ross Hair, 2019

Small Publishers fair 2012 (foto: Peter Foolen)