“Wow, open this!” – curious arts

Wow Open This Feature Image

Paper Engineering in Books & Artists’ Books

One of my favourite things to play with as a kid was an Anne of Green Gables pop-up dollhouse book. My brother and I never got tired of opening the book to reveal the four rooms of Anne’s house, then setting up the paper doll characters throughout the rooms. I’d open and close the book over and over again as slow as I could, to try and figure out how they had made the folds that turned into beds, tables, china cabinets and all of the other trappings of an old house.

Anne of Green Gables Pop-up doll houseThat point of fascination is where the title of the current exhibit, “Wow, open this!” a collection of pop-up books in the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library comes from. The feeling of enchantment a person feels upon opening a pop-up book for the first time is universal. The surprise you feel upon the revelation of the hidden world, or character contained between the pages, and the need to share that excitement with someone else is what this show is all about.

Curator Kevin Zak (’12 M Des, ’92 BFA), an Art & Design instructor here at the University of Alberta, has focused on a variety of forms used in pop-ups and artists’ books. Wow, open this!, showcases books all the way back from the 16th century to today and includes a small selection of modern books that you can directly interact with.

Kevin hopes that visitors will enjoy the exhibition “purely for the magic of the form,” as well as come away understanding some of the basic forms that are used in pop-ups, and the deep history extending back to the 13th century.

This week is your last chance to see “Wow, open this!” The exhibit shows until June 6th at the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library (Lower level, Rutherford South). Admission is free. The Bruce Peel Special Collections Library is open Monday to Friday from noon until 4:30pm.

Picture of several pop-up books

Media Coverage:
Edmonton Journal
The Gateway

~By TJ Jans

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