Thursday, 09 July 2015 02:35

Ex Libris 2004: The Enchanted Woods

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Exlibris  bosco stregato


Who used to attend the second-hand bookshops, and is attracted by the charm of old and dusty books,  wherever they are, will agree with me that it is certainly not easy to come across volumes within a exlibris. And if that happens, nine times out of ten it's sheets glued on the back cover at least twenty or thirty years before

PThis probably means that few people use to mark their books with a personal exlibris,and that the facsimile is now an object fashioned and forgotten. Yet this is not entirely true: it is simply a change of use, of a modification (one of many) originated by the changing times. The exlibris as collector's item has supplanted the exlibris "trademark owned", becoming a graphic art commissioned and custom made to be exchanged with other similar. These changes mean that often cries to the scandal by those who believe they are the custodians and defenders of exlibris orthodoxy. Yet even in the first decades of the twentieth century, the golden age of the exlibris, there were great exlibris collector, those, for instance, that they would never "met" a book, because their only end was circulated among fans.

And there it is not said that in the nineteenth and twentieth century the exlibris were used very frequently because it is defended better the rare and precious books. The books, even those antiques, costing no more certain today; it was simply a matter of custom. It was fashionable to have in its own name one or more sheets (which they were always glued on the books is still to be proved) and made a display of this sign to show their membership of a particular class. But then it was not implicitly an intellectual elite is demonstrated by the fact that many men of great culture, both in Italy and abroad, did not have their own exlibris.

If many were in the past those who had personal exlibris, and however true that this graphics ed so special (which combines the bibliophile with collecting art) found its maximum visibility during exhibitions and competitions. Those who know the history of the exlibris modern know that at the end of the nineteenth century were born a bit 'everywhere the different national associations libris, preceded and accompanied by frequent exhibitions and competitions of success..

In Italy, for example, where the first exlibris association dates back to 1910 but already in 1904 in Venice was a competition for a exlibris for public libraries, while in 1905, in Milan, he organized a competition to choose a sheet for town hall. Even "On the modern artist, fortnightly magazine illustrated art pure and applied", authoritative and popular periodical Turin, held a successful exlibris competition in 1908. And that was followed then many others in different cities.

Among the exhibits, apart from the VI Exhibition of Venice (1905), in which it was possible to see beautiful ex libris of Aristide Sartorio, Alberto Martini and Alfredo Baruffi, very important for the understanding and development of the exlibris was the first Italian Show of xilografy in Levanto, in the 1912.

From those distant times exhibitions and competitions have become very frequent a bit all over the world. Ex libris associations, public libraries, organizations and institutions of various kinds are activated now to have an exlibris to use now to commemorate a famous person or to advertise a place or institution. So often that exlibris competitions is little or no interest to the bibliophile component of the exlibris, but see this essentially a graphics  type of art memorial.

Maybe so it "betrays" the function for which these sheets are born, and would certainly be better to abandon the use of the word exlibris, but there are at least two reasons that lead us to think that it is useful to continue on this path.

Since the visibility of the bookplate of use (that of the past, but even more than this) is reduced to a minimum, it is clear that competitions and exhibitions of all kinds are still titles to disclose the exlibris in his different expressions. Besides the not numerous scholars and experts, who know every secret, there are others who know nothing of exlibris, which can be entice take an interest, and no fi by commissioning one for their books.

And then the exlibris has also another component in preparation: it can help to love (and collecting) the graphics art, both contemporary or of the past. and can even give greater visibility to the work of engravers today, because the vitality of the world of the bookplate is certainly higher than that of the so-called free graphics..

But now we come to "The Enchanted Woods" and its main feature. Contrary to what is done almost everywhere, they could attend only the invited artists, chosen from among the most important that you devote to routinely perform exlibris. Apart from these, the invitation was extended to Italian artists who never or rarely had engraved bookplate, but whose skills are well recognized, and some young people who were brought to light in recent times

In Italy and in Russia, Turkey and France, Belarus and Lithuania, as well as in China, Argentina and Japan have got our invitations and responses have been numerous and significant, despite some initial organizational difficulties.

Experts of the exlibris, those who know all the artists in the world, will find here several prestigious names, but will also be surprised to see great works of engravers who approach for the first time (and finally) to 'the the exlibris The others, those who know little or nothing of exlibris and engraving art, we believe they will appreciate the creativity and variety, many works born from the knowledge of tales and myths, legends and dreams, but also collective private. That's why some works are easier to read, while others are less immediate and requires a measure of interpretation; but all are perfectly consistent with the theme required, despite the different sensitivity and respect for specific culture author.

The work of the jury was not easy: the rising artistic quality of many works arrived has created some ('certainly not unpleasant, and also predictable) hesitation in adjudicating the awards, but everything has been decided in complete freedom and without preconceptions, as always we would like to see happen on occasions like those in foreign countries known for their chauvinism.

We conclude with a big thank you to all the artists who wanted to participate in this initiative, hoping to be able still count on their valuable collaboration in the upcoming editions of the competition.

Remo Palmirani

Contest Winners

Primo vincitore edizione 2004

1st Prize:

Roberto Tonelli

Secondo vincitore edizione 2004

2st prize:

Juri Jakovenko

Terzo vincitore edizione 2004

3st prize:

Vladmiro Elvieri

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