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Revue Faire No. 7 (A book: Parallel Encyclopedia, Batia Suter)


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In the seventh issue of Revue Faire [To Look at Things], publisher and curator Jérôme Dupeyrat writes about artist Batia Suter's project Parallel Encyclopedia. Ongoing since 2004, the project has taken the form of numerous installations and two Roma Publications in 2007 and 2016.

Suter's artwork is built upon the collection of books she's acquired since the end of the 1990s. Primarily second hand, these publications were acquired for their iconography (their illustrations, portraits, symbols, and pictures) in order to create an image database that can sit on the shelves of her personal library. They have become the basic material for Suter's artwork, which presents images according to the artist's visual logic, wherein she provides them with new modalities of appearance and they acquire multiple interpretive possibilities.

Each version of Parallel Encyclopedia associates hundreds of heteroclite images (historical, artistic, scientific, and technical), grouped according to typological and formal links. As the project migrates through different forms, the presentation of images has varied—there is the sequencing and seriality of bound pages in the publications; the linear sequences of images reproduced for exhibition on gallery walls; and the constellatory sequences of book pages opened and placed on stands in various arrangements. Though the exhibited images are the same, these various exhibition possibilities provide quite different readings.

Dupeyrat's text grapples with Suter's fascinating project, re-situating her work within the context of historical iconographic practices from various disciplines and various approaches to organizing knowledge. He traces the trajectory of images gathered in Parallel Encyclopedia; highlights Suter's artistic practice, wherein she assumes the role of “editor”; and probes  the role of graphic design in her work. While Suter does not identify as a designer, graphic design has been a key thread for her, most concretely in her collaboration with graphic designer Roger Willems on the design of the two printed volumes of the Encyclopedia. Both volumes have become a reference for many artists, as well for a large number of graphic designers, and lend themselves.

Revue Faire, launched in 2017, is a regularly published critical publication dedicated to the analysis of graphic design, with a particular focus on France, and a broader focus on graphic design in Europe. Each year, 15 bilingual (French and English) 20-page issues are planned to be published. The series, curated by Sacha Léopold and François Havegeer, works with various invited authors; each issue documents a unique, tentacular subject of interest to graphic designers. 

Designed and edited by Sacha Léopold and François Havegeer with Kévin Lartaud

Published by Éditions Empire, 2018

In English and French

Softcover, 20 pages, staple binding, full color, 8.5 × 11.75 inches

ISBN: 979-10-95991-05-2