From our archive | Artist book of proverbs

‘WorldWise’ is an artist book by Linda K. Johnson, published in Washington in 2003. It contains 32 proverbs from across the world, from ‘He who doesn’t risk never gets to drink champagne’ (Russia) to ‘An egg today is better than a chicken tomorrow’ (Vietnam).

WorldWise © 2003 Linda K. Johnson

It’s a great example of an artist playing with the structure of the artist book, and pushing the boundaries of the book form. Four small booklets are folded using an origami flower fold, with the outer pages using digital reproductions of old maps to illustrate the origin of the proverbs.

When each booklet is fully opened, it forms a four-pointed star. The circular slipcase mirrors the globe, with the four small booklets fitting into the corresponding four corners of the world. Playful and exquisitely executed, this artist book is a joy to interact with.

Johnson is a cross-disciplinary artist, based in Portland, Oregon, where she has taught, performed, created and produced for over 20 years. Her concerns as an artist are social and environmental, and her projects have addressed these interests in hybrid and unconventional forms and venues.

Detail from WorldWise © 2003 Linda K. Johnson
WorldWise © 2003 Linda K. Johnson
8 April 2020