Difficult Chapter



Screw Books #3


Censored Nailbook

Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections celebrates the work of artist Werner Pfeiffer with an exhibition of his book-objects and artist books in the Hirshland Gallery, Carl A. Kroch Library.

Werner Pfeiffer’s work explores the technological and cultural revolutions exerting influence on the appearance and survival of physical books. His book-objects, encased and silenced, become provocative statements, challenging our notions of the role and meaning of books in contemporary society.

Pfeiffer’s book-objects dismantle pre-existing books and reassemble their remains into new composites. By contrast, his artist books create interactive, multi-dimensional volumes from scratch. Typically produced in limited editions of 10 to 50 copies each, Pfeiffer's artist books employ handset type, letterpress printing, and original print techniques such as woodcuts, linoleum blocks, or etchings. Through both his book-objects and his artist books, Pfeiffer challenges the passivity of electronic dialogue and digital text.

Born in Stuttgart in 1937, Werner Pfeiffer emigrated to the United States in 1961. He was appointed Professor of Art at Pratt Institute in New York in 1969. His books, collages, drawings, prints, paintings, and sculptures have been shown internationally in more than 100 group exhibitions and in over 70 solo shows worldwide.

This web site presents a digital version of a physical exhibition on view at Cornell University Library between October 20, 2010 and February 25, 2011. The exhibition previously traveled to Smith College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Toronto.

Printed copies of the catalogue produced to accompany the first traveling exhibition of Werner Pfeiffer’s book-objects and artist books may be purchased for $10 by sending a request to our reference desk.

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