Disrupted meaning: a study of subverting logic through artists' books

PhD Thesis

Liesch, Rhiannan P.. 2014. Disrupted meaning: a study of subverting logic through artists' books. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

Disrupted meaning: a study of subverting logic through artists' books

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorLiesch, Rhiannan P.
SupervisorAkenson, Dr David
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages258

This dissertation will discuss artists’ books as a form of visual arts practice that has been developed primarily since the 1960s. Works associated with this term can be distinguished from books in general and even books containing works of art, in that artists’ books are works of art in and of themselves. In particular, this dissertation will focus on non-narrative, nonlinear or disrupted artists’ books that require alternate or reinvented methods of reception and interpretation as they put forward different experiences to those of traditional books. In order to approach this focus from a theoretical perspective, which is currently lacking in existing literature on artists’ books, there are four key areas that will be examined, as they will provide the context for the examination of non-narrative artists’ books.

The first is an account of artists’ books in general, where a brief history and various conceptual and material approaches related to their practice will be outlined. Secondly, modes of narrative communication conducted both through books and in society in general will be discussed. This is important for the dissertation because it will outline related book and narrative conventions that the particular works in question will be shown to depart from. The third field that will be considered concerns aesthetic debates. In order to situate non-narrative artists’ books in these debates, the presence of an illogical signifier or non-narrative occurrence in a visual work will be explored as a potential aesthetic element. The fourth field to be examined addresses the processes and effects related to non-narrative ordering in literary, film and visual works in general. Once the aforementioned areas have been addressed, specific nonlinear or disrupted artists’ books will be discussed. This discussion will be carried out in terms of content, structure, reader role and experience and alternate methods of comprehension that may be required, so that the various ways in which such works depart from traditional books can be considered and responded to. Through these considerations, this dissertation will identify the potential relevance and functions of non-narrative book works as a mode of contemporary art practice.

The dissertation does not seek to examine overt structures of meaning, but to investigate disruptive or illogical spaces that arise within a work. This is the gap in existing literature that will be filled, thereby providing a theoretical basis for the viewing and discussion of non-narrative artists’ books.

Keywordsartists, books, visual, arts, history, conceptual, narrative, communication
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360699. Visual arts not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Arts and Communication
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