“Book design is a meta narration," believes Moscow-based designer Konstantin Eremenko, “I strongly believe that an art book as an object is more of an original piece than the artworks it contains.” Designing over 20 custom designed books, Konstantin’s admirable portfolio of book design features bespoke book binding, delicate paper stocks and spread after spread of beautifully designed layouts elevating the content of each book.
Describing book design as an “incredible world” Konstantin goes on to say: “The designer, who’s working within a single narrative contained within the images, manages to create a whole new narrative; the book’s. Thus, we create a narration inside a narration, or a visualisation of the visual… I’m really fascinated by the visual theory of human perception and practice, combined with design.”
His most recent book design The Verge is a documentary publication of photography from the Second World War. Written by Arthur Bondar, the idea for the book sparked back in the spring of 2017 when he purchased a small cardboard box filled with negatives from Mauerpark flea market in Berlin. The box appeared to be full of photographic negatives from the Second World War and upon his arrival back in Moscow, Arthur cleaned, washed and scanned in the negatives.
“The negatives were a private archive of an unknown German family living in Austria during the war, which was part of the Third Reich after Anschluss in 1938,” says Arthur. On closer inspection of the archive, the writer deduced that the photographer was open-minded with a naive view of the world; presumably a young girl or boy. Capturing a relatively peaceful life during an abhorrent wartime period, the photographs are filled with leisurely scenes at a lake, celebrations of family holidays and travels during the time.
Later that year, Arthur purchased some old negatives from Soviet wartime photographers. The negatives had previously been stored in the offices of Soviet newspapers but after the fall of the USSR, the collections found their way into various private collections. “Now possessing these two perspectives of visual evidence from the same historical period, Konstantin and I decided to create a body of work in the form of a book,” adds the author.
In turn, the book offers the viewer a wider look at a common European history. “It is impossible to fully understand the scale of any historical event from looking at one side only, especially an event such as World War Two,” Arthur goes on to say. Quoting Brian O’Doherty’s analysis, pointing out how “we have now reached a point where we see not the art, but the space first,” Konstantin draws on this design mantra to craft a space that frames these historical documents as the central attraction.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.