/ 27 August 2010

Extraordinary find goes public

Extraordinary Find Goes Public

An artist’s book that went missing in 1988 was recently rediscovered in the basement of a book binder in Johannesburg and will be launched during the M&G Literary Festival.

The book consists of a previously unpublished poem, Skoenlapperheuwel, Skoenlappervrou (Butterfly Hill, Butterfly Woman) by Wilma Stockenström, and is illustrated by the acclaimed artist, Judith Mason.

Gallery AOP, one of two festival venues at 44 Stanley, will host the launch at 1.30pm on Saturday September 4. Mason will be present at the launch, where 20 copies of the book will be on display. Stockenström lives in Cape Town.

Wilhelm van Rensburg, the Gallery AOP curator, carefully unpeeled one of the books from its padded wrapping and said: “Mason’s visceral yet lyrical illustrations take on the shape of original pencil drawings, re-worked photolithographic images, lithographs and collages of ­lithographs.”

About the poem, Van Rensburg said: “It’s about the origins of the creative process. Her inimitable style is described by theorists and critics as ‘ironic realism’.”

The book itself is a masterpiece — printed on a lithographic etching press on 250g Rives BFK paper, it is hand-stitched and bound in natural linen, and placed in a slipcase. The text is set in Visigoth, a font specially designed for the book in New York, according to Van Rensburg.