A special edition of Bookshelf this week from Yokoland and Aki Books founder, illustrator, designer, artist, editor and publisher of “more or less unsellable books”, Aslak Gurholt Rønsen. As well as collecting disciplines, Aslak is the curator of a personal library that is so vast it fills his home, two studios (much to the frustration of his colleagues) and is busy filling shelves in the apartment above his, which he ended up having to buy. Things are getting even more serious in the storage department though as he has also started to collect porcelain and pottery…
Massively curious about what a bibliophiles home and studio might look like, we asked him to take a couple more photos…
Byn med det blå huset Sune Jonsson . Published by Nordisk Rotogravyr, 1959
Byn med det blå huset (The Village with the Blue House) is the first book by Swedish photographer Sune Jonsson. The book is one of many good Swedish photobooks from this period and is about Jonsson’s local hometown in the county, Västerbotten. Photobooks like this, regarding a specific geographic area, was quite normal in the 50s. Today this genre doesn’t really exist anymore, or at least not the same type of books. What distinguishes this book from the rest are Jonsson’s personal view and his exceptional images. Here there are stories about many of the local people – from young to old, normal to odd ones. Even though Jonsson is most known for his photography, he also worked as an author. This book is therefore equally divided between photographs and short stories. My Swedish language skills are not as good as my Norwegian, and I have not read all of his texts, but to me they seem strangely disconnected to his everyday photographs. A compilation of Sune Jonsson’s photographic work is soon to be published by Steidl.
Jost Hochuli: Printed Matter, Mainly Books Texts by J. Christoph Bürkle, Hans Peter Willberg, Robin Kinross and Jost Hochuli. Published by Niggli, 2002
This book is the ultimate book on Swiss designer Jost Hochuli. I remember I read this book as a student, and I was really captured by the way it described Hochuli’s graphic works, his working method, and his pragmatic and logic designs. I believe I learned more from reading this book once than what I learned from my teachers in a year. If I ever get to be a teacher, I’ll force it on my students. Maybe it’s time to read it again soon?
Design as Art Bruno Munari. First published by Editori Laterza, 1966 , new edition by Penguin Books, 2008
Most designers probably already know this classic but it’s so good that I thought I would include it anyway. Munari first worked as an artist with some connections to the Italian futurist movement. His first experiments with kinetic art were executed at the same time as Calder made his kinetic sculptures. As well as being an artist, Munari worked both as a designer, graphic designer, children’s book illustrator and writer. This book consist of his many short texts on design. Some of them might seem a bit outdated today but his way of thinking and the simple way he describes how we shape or misshape our surroundings makes it still relevant.
Fig. Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin . Published by Steidl and Photoworks, 2007
This book is one of my absolute favourite photo books from the past years. It is organized with one picture on each side. A short caption follows every picture and its structure, with the quirky leaps from one theme to another, reminds me in many ways of another favourite: Ryan Gander’s Loose Associations. In this sense the book is very much about objectification, description, representation and classification (or misapplication of classification systems).
En Bok Om Stig Lindberg Berndt Klyvare and Dag Widman. Published by Rabén & Sjögren, 1962
This book is one of the nicest I’ve been able to track down on Swedish multi-designer and artist Stig Lindberg, with its nice print and a pattern on the cover designed by Lindberg himself. Lindberg was working as a designer at Swedish pottery factory Gustavsberg for more than forty years (between 1937-80, and as the main art director from 1949). In this period he designed lots of ceramic items, both individual ones and mass-produced dinnerware. Lindberg is also known for his children’s book-illustrations and his many decorative patterns.