(Self-published, Leerdam, 2012)
The Invisible Book is a book produced in limited edition at the affordable price of €0. It will work as a digital book too, on any platform. The edition is limited to 100 copies (neither numbered nor signed).
This is a product without a single fault, available at the lowest price possible. The book was made as a reaction to both the trend of decreasing booksales and the trend of increasing expectations from audiences.
Published by Elisabeth Tonnard, Leerdam, April 2012.
The book’s first edition was sold out on the day of its release. A second edition became available in June 2012. It too was limited to 100 copies, neither numbered nor signed, but all made to perfection and available at the price of €0. Order the book by sending me an email, and note that it will not be possible to buy more than one copy. If you would like to order more copies or prefer to obtain copies of the first edition, follow thislink to the German site of Ebay, where artist Joachim Schmid is occasionally offering for sale the first edition copies he bought immediately after the launch of the book (note the auctions are not always up).
The book is included in the collections of Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience (Antwerp), the International Center of Photography (NY) and the Tate Library (London) where you can go and attempt to see it. The book was shortlisted in the 2013 Artists’ Books of the Moment Award, Art Gallery of York University, Canada.
In order to shed some light on the nebulous history of The Invisible Book, a set of visible postcards was published in August 2013. From an early discussion about the book in 1654, to Robert Walser’s sterling 1925 review and Diane Simpson’s legendary marathon reading in 1980, discover some of the highlights in the book’s history through this set of six cards. The set is priced at € 5 plus shipping and available in mywebshop. Or order by email.
Ah, my love, the glory of works which have been lost for ever, of treatises which today are mere titles, of libraries which burned down, of statues which were demolished! How blessed with absurdity are the artists who set fire to a beautiful work! Or the artists who could have made a beautiful work but deliberately made it ordinary! Or the great poets of silence who, knowing they were capable of witing an absolutely perfect work, preferred to crown it with the decision never to write it. (For an imperfect work, it makes no difference.) How much more beautiful the Mona Lisa would be if we couldn’t see it! And if someone were to rob it just to burn it, what an artist he would be, even greater than the one who painted it! Why is art beautiful? Because it is useless. Why is life ugly? Because it’s all aims, objectives and intentions. All of its roads are for going from one point to another. If only we could have a road connecting a place no one ever leaves from to a place where no one goes! If only someone would devote his life to building a road from the middle of one field to the middle of another – a road that would be useful if extended at each end, but that would sublimely remain as only the middle stretch of a road!
Fernando Pessoa, from The Book of Disquiet
Elisabeth Tonnard is a Dutch artist and poet working in artists’ books, photography and literature. Since 2003 she has published thirty books in which texts and images extracted from the cultural archive are processed and laid out to exhibit their latent messages. The works range in scale and method from a book that iscompletely invisible, to a book containing a short story that swallowed a novel, to a book that is a swimming pool. The books are included in numerous public collections and are exhibited widely. The work has won several awards, most recently the Kleine Hans (Little Hans) Award 2013. See for some more detail All is vanity. (Photograph by Andreas Schmidt)