This exhibition project starts from what the Library has supposed as a space that has guarded and continues to guard the knowledge gathered and stored by humanity throughout the centuries. We observe the Library as the story of a chimera, of an illusion, of an impossible dream, since to understand it as a container capable of covering all the memory of the world, will always end up being an “unattainable utopia”. But there are many possible drifts of this concept of total Library, which can be found in personal, diverse, subjective, anarchic and unusual libraries, if we analyze them from the canons that apply to librarianship professionals.
“Unusual Libraries” brings together in one project the idea of ”infinite library”, insatiable, always changing and open to all kinds of knowledge, with contributions made by contemporary artists, which from the late sixties and until the end of the Currently, they have revised the idea of library, archive and book as an inexhaustible source of knowledge and have been interested in artist editions, an artistic modality that, in spite of its apparent marginality, occupies an important place in all of them. aesthetic discourse.
If we consider the Library as the space in which all knowledge is concentrated, the Library as a cultural space and at the same time democratic par excellence, since the mid-nineteenth century public libraries emerged, we must certainly address the issue from such diverse aspects , as the importance of architectural space, the uniqueness of its bibliographic collections, but also from the possibility of perceiving it as a mental space, as imagined by Jorge Luis Borges, as a space in which knowledge overflows and uncertainties overwhelm us the idea of ”infinite library”.
Mythical libraries such as Alexandria, particular and subjective as Michel de Montaigne, utopian as the architectural projects of Étienne-Louis Boullée in the eighteenth century to accept and question the “cloud” as that huge file that collects the huge amount of data generated by current society, they form the field of reflection on which this exhibition is based.
The selected artists present their artist editions and for this they have designed their own exhibition space according to how they wish to integrate the viewer in the consultation of their editions. The project shows a selection of “personal libraries” in which will be assembled artist editions, reference books, drawings and personal objects, in short, something similar to what we could find in our own library.
Likewise, in a central space of the exhibition route is what in the library came to be called “Hell”: a reservation room in which once isolated singular editions, of great value, forbidden, consulted only by bibliophiles. In the “Room of Reservation” of “Unusual Libraries” there are assembled editions of those artists who in the sixties and seventies contributed with their proposals to give a new meaning to the special editions, a space with books of reference artist exposed as a true “bibliophile’s treasure”.
In addition to level 2 of Arts Santa Mònica, Unusual Libraries has two external interventions:
– Al Ateneu Barcelonès (C / de la Canuda, 6) by Enric Farrés.
– To ELISAVA University School of Design (Ramblas, 30-32) by Francesc Ruiz.