Bay Area Attractions: Peter Koch Editions

06 Jun 2011 12:25 PM | Anonymous

Many in the book art world know of the Codex Foundation, and its biennial book art fair in Berkeley, CA. The powerhouse behind it is Peter Koch, who also runs Peter Koch Editions. He has printed over thirty artist books, as well as hundreds of works on commission for others. Currently, his work can be seen at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, in the exhibition, “The Art of the Book in California: Five Contemporary Artist Presses.”


Peter Koch describes his practice as “more of an aesthetic than a philosophy,” wanting each book that he creates to an exemplary of its kind.  Koch relates his aesthetic to the philosophy of Parmenides, seeking an eternal quality in its final presentation. His goal for each book is to cross all borders of the senses to become a complete immersive experience. In addition, Koch is unyielding in the importance of craft. On his website, he states,”[T]here is no art without craft. Art without craft denies the difficult beauty of a thing well made, the elegant simplicity of an idea.”

When discussing Codex, he explains that he wanted to create a book fair that could break away from genre-, nation- or region-centric affairs to become a global marketplace of both commerce and ideas. He describes visits to the Grande Marketplace in Istanbul, and how he realized that for a book art fair to exist on such a scale, he needed to do it himself. Drawing on a network of world friendships in the field, he set about doing just that.

Koch is very willing to advise students or recent graduates just starting out in the field. He strongly encourages study with master printers and master bookbinders, and believes that it is crucial to study the history of the book. In particular, he insists on the study of typography. He says that the only real danger that artists risk is boring their audience, and encourages students to combine “high craft, deep historical awareness, and drop-dead intellectually compelling subject matter,” that they will raise the bar and make the next generation of significant artist books.

To learn more about Peter Koch Editions, please visit here.

To learn more about the Codex Foundation, please visit here.
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