Touching books

 I want to spend the rest of my life everywhere, with everyone, one to one, always, forever, now, 1997 A book - as in the thing itself - is not a work of art, but a miracle of design. Which makes the V&A's new exhibition extremely frustrating. Featuring books and book-influenced works by contemporary artists from Matisse to Damien Hirst, Blood on Paper: The Art of the Book is a beautiful morgue, where ranks of stylised books sit behind glass like crisp butterfly corpses pinned to velvet.

The need to protect the works from our grubby, greedy readers' hands actually makes this The Art of the Page, each book opened at a single sheet or double-spread then sealed safely away. Unfortunately, this means each page is rid of the visual and/or textual story in which it sits and of much of its aesthetic appeal. A page is a tantalising, transient moment defined by the timeline of its book. Fixed, it is just a very pretty picture.

CONTINUE READING AT THE GUARDIAN...