Inside the Milberg Gallery: Ulises Carrión - Book as Time-Space Sequence

The following is the first in a series of inside looks at the current exhibition in Princeton University Library’s Ellen and Leonard Milberg Gallery in Firestone Library - “Ulises Carrión: Bookworks and Beyond.” 

Curated by Sal Hamerman, Metadata Librarian for Special Collections at PUL, and Javier Rivero Ramos, a recent Ph.D graduate from the Department of Art & Archaeology, who is now Assistant Curator at Art Bridges Foundation in Arkansas, the exhibition explores Carrión’s pioneering reinvention of the book as a material and social platform, primarily featuring Princeton’s extensive holdings, drawn from the Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology and PUL’s Special Collections. PUL is steward to one of the most substantial collections of Carrión’s book and mail art in any American library. 

Ulises Carrión stands against a yellow wall

Ulises Carrión.

Carrión unmoors the book from its more conventional definition as a material support for texts and images by reimagining it as an arrangement of spaces and temporalities. 

“A book is not a case of words, nor a bag of words, nor a bearer of words,” he argues. The book, recast by artists like him as a self-sufficient and autonomous form, as a “volume in space,” becomes the ground for exploring a whole array of temporal, spatial, and material questions. Carrión crafted, collected, and conceived books that challenge and reshape the relationship between a book and its reader: books where an overall concept is revealed through the progression of each page; books where each page offers different colors, textures, and tactile stimuli; books that unfold into real space and transform the reader into an active participant.

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The exhibition is open and free to the public during Milberg Gallery hours of operation, February 21 through June 13, 2024.

Discover more through the accompanying digital exhibit.

Published March 11, 2024.

Media Contact: Stephanie Oster, Library Publicity Manager