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SAVE THE DATE! The Fine Art & Craft of the Steidl Book

Lasting Impressions
The Fine Art & Craft of the Steidl Book

Musée de l’Elysée
Lausanne, Switzerland
Opening 17 November, 2009 - 21 February, 2010

Everyone knows a beautiful photography book when they see one. But few people realise what a labour of love a fine publication represents, and what diverse and complementary skills combine to ensure the best possible results. For many photographers and curators, the quality of a Steidl publication represents nothing less than the gold standard. It was the intensity of our personal experience of book-making at Steidl, as Musée de l’Elysée curators, which led us to the idea of an exhibition which would unveil the art and craft involved in the production of a Steidl book: the A to Z of the process, from the first rough sketches on a scrap of paper, through the tortured convolutions of “dummy” production, to the (often agonizing) choice of the “right cover” (not to mention the myriad choices of paper, typography and binding). We determined not only to show all these diverse operations in as accessible a manner as possible, but also to give visitors a sense of the experience of daily life at “Steidlville”, where photographers, graphic designers, printers, curators and other photography specialists rub shoulders as they busy themselves with one or another aspect of book production, the combined results of which are destined to expand and enrich the field of art photography.

Karl Lagerfeld, Ed Ruscha, Jim Dine, Roni Horn, Jeff Wall, Juergen Teller, Deborah Turbeville, Raymond Depardon, and dozens of other renowned image-makers have made generous loans of their raw book-making materials, their experiments with inks and papers, trial typography, proposed image-sequences, and ideas for covers. Several of the artists have written texts for the show, including Jeff Wall and Michael Ruetz. Gerhard Steidl himself contributes his favorite papers and typefaces, as well as books which left a deep impression on him in his formative years. Photographer Koto Bolofo exhibits his panorama of life at the Göttingen plant, while Monte Packham shares his daily journal and Rudy Schellong displays his acclaimed culinary art – a much appreciated fuel for collaborators at Steidlville! A range of Steidl’s most beautiful books are displayed, and the craft of fine printing demonstrated. Meanwhile, Jim Dine contributes a special installation, and Ed Ruscha unveils his new limited edition opus, On the Road.