The Invisible Cities Collaborative Book Project, organized in 2016 by Constellation Studios, was exhibited in Venice, Italy, July 10 – 15, 2018. Many local and regional artists, students, and studio members and friends contributed art for this project. Karen Kunc, owner and director of Constellation Studios, and UNL Professor of Art, presented the book, and also exhibit her own artist books and prints. The exhibition was hosted by Amor del Libro Studio, at the Palazzo Ca’ Zenobio, Venice, Italy, with an opening reception on Tuesday July 10.
The Invisible Cities Book Project was initiated through an open call to artists, who were invited and inspired to contribute a book page in the specific size of 8 inches x 8 inches (20cm x 20cm) that were then joined together in an accordion-fold leporello structure. Participants include 238 artists, from students, to amateur and professional, with local artists from Lincoln Public Schools, UNL, Doane University, Nebraska Wesleyan, and from across the USA. International participants sent works from Italy, France, Finland, Bangladesh, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, Poland, India, Croatia, Canada, Egypt, Argentina, Chile. The works are in a variety of media, including prints, photos, digital prints, watercolor, collage, and drawing. Invisible Cities is bound and housed in a clamshell box, and opens to 80 feet (24 meters).
This project was first shown at Constellation Studios in October 2016, in conjunction with Metropolis, the book project created by Amor del Libro Studio, Venice. Many of these artists contributed to both book projects in the spirit of collaboration and gift-exchange that is inherently the nature of prints and printmakers.
Artists responded to the concept of Invisible Cities from a novel by Italian writer Italo Calvino, Le citta invisibili, published in Italy in 1972. In Calvino’s story Marco Polo reports to emperor Kublia Khan on the various cities across the empire that he visited. Organized in a mathematical structure, Calvino’s descriptions are fantastical, of dream-like cities all named after women. Following each eleven descriptions, the two men discuss ideas brought forward by the tales such as notions of human nature and linguistics.
Artist Karen Kunc exhibited her own artists’ books and prints alongside Invisible Cities, to show the depth of her exploration of book forms, and the richness of her printmaking processes.
Thanks for the warm hospitality and welcome shown by the gracious hosts, and so many any new friends!