A new exhibit has premiered in Wilson Library’s North Carolina Collection Gallery.
The title of the exhibit comes from a quote by Michael Ende: “Is not every book a mirror in which the reader is reflected?”
"Every Book a Mirror: Book Artists Engage with the 21st Century" is a collection of artists' books, zines and other art forms that bring light to current issues — both national and international.
Co-curator and Sloane Art Library Manager Josh Hockensmith said the works in the exhibit represent a mirror that is both reflecting back at the viewer and reflecting society to the viewer.
The exhibit features works from creators of varying identities — tackling numerous social and environmental issues of the 21st century. Some of the topics include queer visibility, the experience of being Black in America, the presence of Indigenous people, the coronavirus pandemic and migration.
“We really made a conscious effort to feature the work of BIPOC artists and LGBTQIA+ artists,” Hockensmith said. “It’s a way to feature work by artists of those identities, but at the same time, engage with audience members who are not of those identities — to see this work and empathize with it.”
The exhibit was curated using artists’ books rather than conventionally printed books because they push the viewer to search for meaning using all aspects of the work, Hockensmith said.
“They use everything about it to contribute to the meaning instead of just words on the page or a picture with a caption,” he said.
Professor Jocelyn Glazier uses artists’ books in some of her instruction at UNC for this reason.