Ken Botnick Discusses the Diderot Project

Monday, November 16, 2015

6:30 PM-8:00 PM

Cost: FREE

Providence Public Library
150 Empire Street
Providence, RI 02903

Meeting Room (3rd Floor)

Mon, 2015-11-16 18:30 - 20:00

Join us as Ken Botnick describes the process of his five-year Diderot Project:

"In 2010 I began a photographic investigation of the Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot with the intention of (eventually) making a limited edition of the work. When I began that investigation I did not know where it would lead. The idea was to design a process that would allow me to follow my instincts and discover my real subject through the making of the work. When I began I was not able to predict that the book would encompass the three passions that fuel my work—the hand, the object, and the senses. These subjects evolved directly from my photographic catalogue of the plates of the Encyclopédie. Through experiments in print I was able to incorporate many of my ideas about making books, including designing the book as a series of linked patterns, the visual relationship of transparency to memory, and an investigation of typographic space in the landscape of the page. The book is 150 pages, with no two pages alike. The question was— how to do this without it becoming an absolute mess?"


Ken Botnick has been printing and publishing works in limited edition for over 35  years, first as co-proprietor of Red Ozier Press in New York. The Red Ozier Press  archive is part of the permanent collection of The New York Public Library. Under the imprint emdash, Botnick continues production of artists books in St. Louis. His work is  found in collections around the world, including the Library of Congress, The Getty Center for Humanities, the Boston Athenaeum, The Bodleian Library, The Newberry Library, The National Library of the Netherlands in the Hague, the Yale Arts of the Book Collection, libraries at Smith, Harvard, Wellesley and notable private collections. His book, “Kamini, selections from the Gitagovinda”, published in Sanskrit and English by emdash, was selected by the American Institute of Graphic Arts for its “50 Books/50 Covers, 2007” annual juried show, and his 2015 publication, Diderot Project, was selected as the winner of the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts Biennial Prize.


Botnick was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in 2006 to support his residency at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India. His research in India has concerned the qualities of design thinking inherent in Indian craft. He is Professor of Art at Washington University in St. Louis where he directs the Kranzberg Book Studio  and teaches courses in publication design.

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