Andreja Brulc's Blog

World Book Day 2012

Posted in Books, Craft, Projects by andrejabrulc on 01/03/2012

Today is World Book Day in the UK. I contributed a postcard to the Random Project to mark this occasion. The words related to the theme were: Words, Dream, World, and Imagine. The postcard below is a response to the Words.

The hand-made letters were initially created for a public art installation – France Prešeren’s New Outfit – dressing the Slovene Romantic poet in a huge cloak, whose monument stands in the main square of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The project was created for the Festival Fabula 2010, run by a literary book publisher Študentska založba, as the central event of Ljubljana’s time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010. I have created over 200 book covers for the publisher since 2007, hence my naughty play on the usual phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

World Book Day – also known as World Book and Copyright Day, or International Day of the Book – is an annual event organised by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. It is a celebration of authors, illustrators, and books. According to the UK World Book Day, the main aim of today in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children of all ages to come together to explore the pleasure of books and reading by providing them with a £1 token against the purchase of a book from the list. The organisation will send these tokens to schools that participate in the World Book Day.

According to Wikimedia, the World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995. The connection between this date and books was first made in 1923 by Spanish booksellers, at the initiative of the Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés, to honour the death of the author Miguel de Cervantes in the Catalonian festival of St George. In Catalonia, St George’s Day (Diada de Sant Jordi), the Saint Patron of this historical region, has been commemorated since 1436, and it involves the exchange of gifts between loved ones and respected people. St George’s Day in Catalonia is celebrated with giving loved ones Books and Roses, and is an opportunity for Catalans to honour their patron saint and show their love of culture.

In 1995 UNESCO decided that the World Book Day would be celebrated on that day, as, an addition to the anniversary of the death of Cervantes, the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, as well as, of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pia, and the birth of Maurice Druon, Vladimir Nabokov, Manuel Mejíla Vallejo, and Halldór Laxness.

The date for the World Book Day, however, differs from country to country. In the UK and the Republic of Ireland is held annually on the first Thursday in March as the established international 23 April would clash with Easter school holidays and as the 23 April is also the National Saint’s day of England, St George’s Day.

The World Book Day is not funded by the British government. The funding for activities mainly comes from the major sponsor, National Book Tokens, and the UK book trade (publishers and booksellers).

Ex-Libris: “Ljubljana World Book Capital”

Posted in Exhibitions by andrejabrulc on 16/06/2010

Some of my work is now shown in the printmaking exhibition Ex-libris: Ljubljana World Book Capital in the Gallery “S” of the Ljubljana Castle, Ljubljana, Slovenia.  The exhibition, curated by Jadranka Ljubičič for the Ljubljana Fine Artists Society, will be opened from 16 June–5 Sep 2010.

 

France Prešeren’s New Outfit Installation / May 2010

Posted in Craft, Projects by andrejabrulc on 30/05/2010
Baptism at the River Savica

Baptism at the River Savica

The art installation in process

The monument dedicated to the most important Slovene poet, France Prešeren (1800-49), which stands in the main square of Ljubljana, was transformed for a day (21 May 2010) during the Fabula Festival, the central event of Ljubljana time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010.  This public art installation gave the poet a new outfit covered in hand-made lettering from stanzas of his longest work in verse, Baptism at the River Savica.

I was delighted with the final outcome of the work, which took almost a month to complete. Also, when finally installed, I was especially relieved to see that the tunic fitted the poet as if made-to-measure when in reality I had to work with the tailor Lidija Kešnar around the measurements I made from a photograph.

Passers-by

And the hard work indeed paid off. The project was received very well by passers-by – and many of them took out their cameras! I was especially pleased with the comment by somebody from the City Museum who shared his appreciation for the project by saying that the installation was “more than culture” and that the city of Ljubljana needed projects like this.

Above all, I was particularly pleased that the media was interested in covering the project on TV Slovenia 1 as well as in print and online. For a full report of the project, photos and video of the installation showing my interview with the journalist Živa Rogelj see  RTV Slovenia, who said that “Prešeren was stoically coping with the adornment, while two other statues nearby were observing this moment in silence”.

Young typo enthusiasts, Živa and Luka

A report by the Slovene Press Agency was published in the national newspaper Dnevnik among others. Also, A.H. wrote in an article titled “Prešeren v novi preobleki” published in the national newspaper Dnevnik (22 May 2010) that Prešeren’s longest work in verse, Baptism at the River Savica, had received “a form as never seen before” and that “the project gave Ljubljana a new artistic inspiration”.

The tunic was only displayed for a day, but it is hoped that there will be other opportunities to show it for a longer period, or even that a more permanent place of the display can be found.

Art installation for a day in all weather conditions

Many many thanks to the organiser, Študentska založba, who supported my project idea. A special thanks to my family for their moral support during the month and particularly to my mum who helped me with the making of the letters. And finally, thanks to the tough guys, Marko Murč and Primož Kuharič of Študentska založba, who helped me to install the new outfit, very heavy in weight indeed.

Installation team

More installation photos on Flick.

Press Release: France Prešeren’s New Outfit / May 2010

Posted in Craft, Projects by andrejabrulc on 20/05/2010

UNESCO World Book Capital 2010: France Prešeren’s New Outfit (Baptism at the River Savica)

Location: Prešeren Square, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Date and time: Friday, 21 May, from 8 am – 23 pm

Summary

The monument dedicated to the most important Slovene poet, France Prešeren (1800-49), which stands in the main square of Ljubljana, will be transformed for a day during the Fabula Festival, the central event of Ljubljana’s time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010. A public art installation, giving Prešeren a new outfit covered in hand-made lettering from stanzas of the poet’s longest work in verse, Baptism at the River Savica, will be realised by the designer and illustrator Andreja Brulc.

Concept

The sculpture of the poet will be draped in a unique black tunic, which is stylistically reminiscent of the cloaks fashionable during the time of the poet. The tunic will have a larger collar made out of a fine velvet, which will overhang the poet’s shoulders and will be tightened around the neck with a large bow. The tunic will then be divided into two parts at the back of the lower part of his legs and will continue in a billowing manner down each side of the pedestal to the first step of the monument. The statue is about 3 metres tall, with an additional 2 metres for the pedestal.

The selection of the text will be from the most important passages from the poem, and in particular those that are part of the school curriculum. The emphasis is especially on the connection of two vital speeches between Črtomir and Bogomila, the main protagonists of the poem. The purpose of the selection, and the execution of the whole design, is to conceptually connect the iconic status of the public monument to the work produced by the poet himself and the private voices of the speakers in the poem.

The text, executed in an experimental typographical manner, will run with the male voice on one side and the female voice on the other side of the poet’s sculptural body. The text begins at the same height as the book that the poet is holding, and this gives the impression of the letters falling from the pages. The overall design and experimental letterforms give a strong sense of the text travelling, coming closer and further away, and in this way attract the attention of readers, inviting them to read the poem.

Technique and material

The principal technique for transferring the text on the cloth is stenciling. The visual impact of the experimental typography is enhanced by the combination in the use of traditional techniques, such as sewing and stitching, knitting and crocheting, and patchwork letters made from textiles.

For more photos see on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/39890289@N05/sets/72157623978334159/

Photos of the tunic installed on the monument still to come.

UNESCO Pocket Beletrina / May 2010

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 15/05/2010

Design and illustration for a series of 10 book covers for Pocket Beletrina, the softback literary imprint of the major Slovene book publisher Beletrina Academic Press. The series was specially created for the World Literatures – Fabula Festival 2010, the central event of Ljubljana’s time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010. The collection was published in conjunction with the project called A Book for Everybody.

As the overall design needed to appeal to “Everybody”, the brief required the series to be simple but visually attractive to reach a wide readership. Hence the decision was made that the main image should be hand-drawn and silhouetted against the backdrop of an intense and eye-catching colour. The image casts a non-realistic shadow to accommodate handwritten lettering, specially designed for this project. A logo for Pocket Beletrina, in the shape of a trouser pocket, was also devised.

excellent design … from the silhouette on the front cover …
– Jonathan Franzen, a dedication note to The Discomfort Zone, 2010

JONATHAN FRANZEN_2JONATHAN FRANZEN_1

Wall Murals: Life in the City

Posted in Projects by andrejabrulc on 25/04/2010

Wall murals for the Press Room of Beletrina Academic Press, a site-specific project to serve as a backdrop for a series of press conferences during the international World Literatures – Fabula Festival, the central event of Ljubljana’s time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010. The monumental murals were based on book-cover illustrations that I had created over the previous years for the imprint. The project demanded a high level of technical skills as wall murals were not only executed in acrylics – the medium not customarily used for the cover illustrations – but they were also larger in scale than the originals. I used a projector to transfer the illustrations to the dimensions of the walls, the method of which also enabled me to trace the originals and keep the murals as close to the book covers as possible. Furthermore, the illustrations were carefully selected to reflect the life in the city of Ljubljana, where the publisher is based.

As you enter the room, the wall on the left has a composition of three tall blocks of flats, smaller in scale but immediately recognisable as a typical architecture of the 1960s and 70s encountered in the city. The illustration immediately recalls the legacy of the communist regime in building large blocks of flats with a utopian idea of social housing but at the same time the legacy of aesthetic connections with Le Corbusier and the West. This piece was made as an element to one of the 16 illustrations, which were reproduced inside a poetry collection (2009).

The central wall, opposite, represents the life in the city, based on the silhouetting artwork done for the cover of a poetry book (2008). It consists of a composition of life-size figures: some busy going to work towards the left (symbolically towards the innermost wall showing a hand indicating a place where business is conducted, created especially for these murals, 2010); some walking at leisure away from the viewer; some walking towards the right, that is, towards the external wall containing windows, between which there is a tree (back illustration for a fiction book, 2007) symbolically painted as if life after work continues in the park (a female figure walking a dog indicates that she is moving towards the park). Or even, a more mischievous thought, when sitting on the sofa along the innermost wall looking towards the windows, the tree becomes a symbol for a desire to escape, away from the busy life at work and of the city, into a life of contemplation and relaxation in the park. And as if that is not enough, for a rest after a long walk to the park, one can sit and read a book on the chair (a detail from a poetry book, 2007) and still pretend that work is being done. As offices are famous for rapid cleaning sessions, a spider (a fiction book, 2009) awaits you the next morning as it sits in its web in the corner!

The central wall also served as a background for the photographic project called The Reader by the photographer Domen Grögl as part of the same Festival. The Reader shows 9 people associated with literature in Slovenia, each holding a book and shown individually on a 2 x 3 m board displayed on the river bank of Ljubljanica during the Festival.

For more photos, see Flickr.

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