Elize de Beer, “Timeline”

Elize de Beer
Muldersdrift, Johannesburg, South Africa

Artist Book. Ink on Paper, Panga Panga Wood.
11.81 x 8.66 x 4.13″

Artist Statement

My practice has always been inspirited by books, book arts and the medium of printmaking. As a printmaker I have made an endless amount of test prints over the years. Since my first year at art school in 2012 I have kept most of my test prints from every printmaking project I have done. I knew that I wanted to keep them for something but never knew how they would or could be transformed. Then came 2020 and the quarantine rollercoaster that derailed the world. I was struggling to find inspiration and so I began to organize my art drawers and saw the piles of test prints, purposeless and collecting a metaphorical dust and it dawned on me, now is the time that they will become something new.

The test prints became a book sculpture. Each print was cut down and folded in the same way I would create a book’s signatures. Once folded the paper shows only 1mm of the imagery on the prints, in doing that one lands up with an abstracted glimpse into the print’s full image. Some of the spines are solid black or white, while others show hints of colours, lines and textures. When these signatures are stacked together they create an abstract linear “drawing”; a “timeline”.

Since these are all prints I have made between 2012 and 2020. The book becomes a visual timeline of the artworks I have made over the years. Rather than a traditional book or artist portfolio where the timeline and artworks are read on the pages as the reader pages though the book. This timeline is read on the spine; a visual artistic autobiography that can been seen and experienced as an entire image. It shows that even though I have made very different types of artworks over that 8 year period they still come together under one artistic practice, under one final image.

The final edition to the book was its covers. Two pieces of African Panga-Panga wood. With the work I do as a carpentry framer it felt fitting to include the wood not only because of the wood’s strength and aesthetic, but also as I am currently a practicing framer and an aspiring book restorer and maker I felt it apt to frame my progression of work within the contexts of my current work between two covers resembling book ends.