In lieu of a preface, the first page reads "Les lettres: l'architecture du plaisir" (The letters: architecture of pleasure) In it the artist addresses the reader/viewer directly. You can use this book in different ways: as a classic book by turning the pages, or as a paper sculpture through which you can wander. You can look at each letter, touch each letter, see it as a form or read it out loud. Each letter has its own sound, its own shape, and its own colour. Notice their differences when you pronounce them, when you hear the sound of your voice. Here is my paper city: Have fun with it!" (Anfuehrungszeichen am Ende fehlen im dt. Text)
The book begins with the consonants in many different forms, as letter forms, as colour surfaces, as figures. The individual pages look like collages of different papers and occasionally demand a lot of imagination from the viewer to recognize them. The consonants are followed by the vowels, indicated by the wide-open mouth together with the request to again connect form and sound. Cut-out vowels are followed by changing drawn lip positions and cut-outs looking like flying notes.
Next are the numbers. Even though we already know some of the elements from the number book or the alphabet book, they are both familiar and different at the same time. In the colourful, multifaceted, surprising sequence, this object book is an opulent invitation to lose oneself in forms, colours, and paper spaces. The artist concludes with the sentence "I hope that you take this book as an artistic message and that it will inspire your whole life."
Květa Pacovská, born 1928 in Prague, lives and works in her city of origin. She practices conceptual art in painting, graphic design, and sculpture and is considered an exceptional artist in the field of art and books. She has gained worldwide fame with her experimental picture object books, which she considers to be a kind of paper sculpture.
After studying at the Prague Academy of Art, Architecture and Design, she began illustrating fairy tales and children's books as early as the 1950s. With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, new opportunities opened up for her book-artistic work. She gained access to the coated papers and cardboard for picture books that were commonly used in the West. Her first new project "One, five, many", 1990, is also her first object book for children and marked a milestone in the creative development of the then 62-year-old artist.
In addition to free works, including large-format oil paintings, collages, objects made of cardboard, paper, strings, wood or metal, she designs numerous book projects as a new form of interactive object book. Květa Pacovská sees her book-artistic works as a kind of three-dimensional paper architecture that one can enter into in order to experience them with all senses. "My picture books are an interplay of different ways of reading. They each set free a different perception of space, rhythm, touch, or colour." And: "My art is by no means based on the understanding to interpret or illustrate texts. Rather, I work on the basis of the visual arts." (Maximum Contrast, p. 148)
Pacovká's works have been widely exhibited, including at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, 2007, and the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt/M., 2008. Her most important award is the Hans Christian Andersen Prize, 1992, one of the most prestigious international prizes for children's and young people's books, which the international children's book organisation IBBY awards every two years.
About the ArtistPictureBook, Pacovská says: "The picture book is the first gallery that children enter".
The Art of Květa Pacovská
Gossau-Zürich, Michael Neugebauer, 1993
Květa Pacovská, Open Space
Paris: Fondation M. von Cronenbold
Wabern: Benteli, 2001
Květa Pacovská, Maximum Contrast
Eva Lienhart (Hrsg.)
Katalog zur Ausstellung im Museum für Angewandte Kunst. Frankfurt/M., Bargteheide: Michael Neugebauer, 2008