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List 34: Cuban Artist Books

November 28th, 2018  |  Published in Book Arts, Catalog, New Arrivals

Cuadernos PapiroEureka Books List 34: Cuban Artist Books from Cuadernos Papiro.

I discovered Editorial Cuadernos Papiro at the Havana Book Fair in 2015 and was immediately taken with these very Cuban fine press books, printed letterpress on handmade paper in small editions. As an antiquarian bookseller, I probably should not admit that most fine press books leave me cold. Their precision and sparkling elegance has never appealed to me, but Cuadernos Papiro books are different. The books are organic. The paper is thick and reveals its plant origins, or it is made from recycled paper left coarse enough to offer hints of its former use. The illustrations often employ found objects, as collage elements or printing plates. Cuadernos Papiro prints works by once-banned or exiled authors and incorporates references to that history into its designs. The printing quality, particularly in the first years of the press, is often rough, but improves over time. The following selection shows the progression of the press and its increasing confidence in machines, materials, and processes. While not well known, Cuadernos Papiro is an exciting and often brilliant modern fine press.—Scott Brown

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