Ana Paula Cordeiro, “Lightweight”
Ana Paula Cordeiro (New York, NY)
Letterpress printed from hand-set type; woodcuts; photo-polymer plates; and linocuts, with 3 tipped-in RC photographs. Magnani paper, sculpted from head-to-tail. Modified limp-vellum binding (3-part construction) on purple parchment.
Edition of 21 (with one AP)
7 3/4″ x 16″ x 5/8″ open
7 3/4″ x 8″ x 5/8″ closed
This book has started in Florence, 1966, as the waters rose and receded. At the same time it has also started in New York City, 2002, during a class called Historical Structures. Its pages moved back and forth for years until they literally acquired a shape, something like a hump that runs slant from head to tail. Time being a theme, when the proof was ready to be laced-in before an approaching deadline its binder wrung her hands crying out loud – this endsheet, what to do! – and looked around herself. The scene was a present-day communal workshop. No medieval bookbinders anywhere near. There were many dear friends, contemporary artists, some letterpress printers. But that endsheet had been dealt with just before Guttenberg. What to do. Trial, and error, and time.
According to Chris Clarkson, limp-vellum bindings reached their technical zenith towards the end of the period when books were produced from beginning to end by the same person. Painstakingly harmonizing individual components was a standard broken to pieces with the assembly lines, but back then usual even for objects crafted for purely utilitarian purposes. Such standards had the opportunity to be recreated after the flood of Florence, along with the realization that their retention value had taken into account not what they were but what they lacked: limp-vellums were unadorned. Goldless, gemless, rather limp really, plain and perfect things of life. A tribute to human skill, capable of surviving catastrophes elegantly but what could have been lost to our perception of value and, most importantly, the judgment across time that has been reserved for what is perceived as lacking value.
As a response, this book named Lightweight intends to incorporate its worth by bearing a sculptural element formed from its own folios, made possible by its own genius. It has a hump, or maybe we should call it a beam. The contents, yes letterpressed, yes from hand-set type, run from and across and around its shape, presenting humorous observations of quantifiers for the assessment of aesthetics, of relationships, and of some such human fancies. May it be called a keep.