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ARCHIVED - ARTISTS' BOOKS
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Further Research

Glossary

artist's book [livre d'artiste]:
An artistic work that can take shape only by borrowing from the distinctive characteristics of a book, in terms of the way it is assembled and manipulated, as well as its content and the reading process required. The artist's book may be published in one or more copies. The book is not the reproduction of a work of art; it is a work of art in itself.
bibliophile [bibliophile]:
A lover of books who seeks out and collects rare, original volumes that have a specific value.
bibliophily [bibliophilie]:
The love of rare, original or historically valuable books; the collection of them; and the process of conducting research on them. Bibliophiles have a range of interests: they may be interested in books of a specific era, their binding and styles, ex libris and artists' books.
blank book [livre blanc]:
A collated, bound book with white pages.
blockbook [incunable xylographique]:
A book made using the block printing technique that was popular before Gutenberg's invention of movable type. The words were engraved on the same block of wood as the illustration, and both were printed at the same time. Also called xylography.
book as object [objet-livre]:
A generic, physical book.
book object [livre-objet]:
A book that focuses more on the material and sculptural aspects, in terms of the book as object, and on the idea evoked, rather than on the aspects of communication and reading.
codex [codex]:
A medium for the written word subsequent to the volumen. This current format for book production gradually replaced the volumen as bookbinders became able to fold the long rolled sheet of paper to form signatures, and assemble and bind these signatures within a single cover.
compendium [compendium]:
A collection or summary of information. The term is often used in pharmacology, medicine and law.
fanzine [fanzine]:
A combination of the words "fan" and "magazine," fanzines are small publications that are self-published or published by fans of comic strips or science fiction. They are often produced by photocopying, offset printing or serigraphy. (See also "graphzine.")
four-colour printing process [quadrichromie]:
A method of printing in full colour using three basic colours-cyan, magenta and yellow-and adding black. This process results in the best reproduction of a realistic colour image.
frontispiece [frontispice]:
The main title of a book. An illustration appearing before the title page of a book. In reference to the expression "architecture of the book," the frontispiece evokes the façade of a book architectural terms, the frontispiece is the book's façade.
graphzine [graphzine]:
Collections of images without text, produced by photocopying, offset printing or serigraphy. Often published by the artists themselves, graphzines frequently deal with provocative subjects. The word comes from a combination of "graphics" and "magazine." (See also "fanzine.")
illustrated book [livre-illustré]:
A traditional book containing images and text. Also used by extension in bibliophily to describe the collaboration of a writer and an artist on a publishing project. The illustrated book often draws on small-scale printmaking and typographic techniques but differs from the modern artist's book.
initial capital [lettrine]:
An ornate letter appearing at the beginning of a chapter or paragraph.
inside cover [contreplat]:
A bookbinding term to indicate the inside surface of the front and back covers of a book.
intaglio [taille-douce]:
A term originally used to indicate copperplate engraving using a burin. Also used to indicate all forms of plate engraving and the printing of these plates.
Japanese method [méthode japonaise]:
A hand-engraving technique using a woodblock and baren, a traditional Japanese tool. The inks are composed of water-based pigments and rice starch.
linocutting [linogravure]:
A printmaking technique in which linoleum is used for the relief surface. Linoleum is composed of cork (linum), linseed oil (oleum) and resin. The areas that are to remain white are carved out of the linoleum, and ink is applied to the remaining surface.
linotype [linotype]:
(circa 1886, "Line-of-Type") A typesetting machine that can set an entire line of type at once, unlike hand composition, where each character is set individually. The output of a linotype machine equalled that of five hand compositors.
lithography [lithographie]:
A printing technique invented in 1796 by Aloys Senefelder. Lithography is based on the principle of grease repelling water. The procedure creates two zones on a limestone surface or metal plate which stand out because of their antagonistic properties. The areas of the drawing are produced with grease media: they repel water and attract ink, while the untouched areas retain water when they are damp, preventing the ink from adhering during printing.
oversheet [défet]:
Superfluous printed sheet rejected by the printer as a result of its poor quality.
photoengraving [photogravure]:
A relief printing technique used to produce photographs before the invention of offset printing. A metal plate (zinc) is coated with a photosensitive emulsion and exposed to light through a photographic negative, causing the emulsion to harden where the negative allows the light to pass. The plate then undergoes an acid wash, and the remaining metal is used to produce the print.
plate mark [coup de plaque]:
The marks or ridge of the edge of the plate resulting from the pressure of the printing press onto paper in the intaglio process.
private press [presse particulière]:
A term first used in England at the end of the 19th century. In reaction to poor-quality mass production, private presses published books known for their high quality of craftsmanship, featuring creative and meticulous illustrations and typography.
self-referential [autoréférentiel]:
Characterized by or making reference to oneself: its universe, its history, its shape. For example, a book dealing with the concept of assemblage that changes its own structure and collating to present this subject.
silkscreen printing [sérigraphie]:
A printmaking technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink blocking stencil. The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate. A squeegee is moved across the screen stencil forcing or pumping ink past the threads of the woven mesh in the open areas, transferring the design to the substrate.
small press [maison de petites presses/petite maison d'édition]:
A press specializing in self-publishing and distribution outside the standard major publishing channels.
speech balloon [phylactère]:
A speech bubble used in comic strips.
visual foil [repoussoir visuel]:
A contrasting visual element that highlights another element and often reveals the deeper meaning of the work.
volumen [volume]:
A medium for the written word predating the codex. Texts were wrapped around two rods (volumens in Latin) and unrolled to be read. The Latin terms explicare (unfold) and complicare (fold together) explain the gestures used to handle the volumen.