The University of South Dakota Proudly Presents
"Bound and Unbound V: Altered Book Exhibition"
A Group Show Including the Art of Aaron Wilder
August 26, 2019-January 3, 2020
University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
The pieces chosen for Bound and Unbound V represent a variety of artistic responses to books. Some artists are engaging with the specific content of a particular book or author, while others are working with the general notion of books as repositories of knowledge, narrative, or institutional bias. In places printed words have been obliterated or rearranged, and some artists have added their own words to recontextualize or undermine original content. Several artists have completely reshaped the book, treating it as a physical object and embracing the material qualities of paper and binding. A few have created their own content and format, pushing the boundaries of what one might consider to be a book, and exploring the very idea of “the book.” Each piece asks you to engage with books in new ways: to read the book visually and apply new layers of content to original text.
Artists from Argentina, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States are represented. Thirty-eight artists qualified the call representing 68 pieces and 29 artists representing 41 works were juried in.
Work from Aaron Wilder's "Delivered Under the Similitude of a Dream" project is included in the exhibition. This project is a deconstruction of John Bunyan’s 1678 book “Pilgrim’s Progress.” The book is a heavily didactic tale of how to live your life as a Christian. Names of characters from Bunyan’s text are applied to images of the artist as a child in non-chronological order to challenge the linear focus of aging. In doing so, Aaron Wilder applies the guise of 75 characters from Bunyan’s book to himself at different points throughout childhood.
Work from Aaron Wilder's "Expletive" project is also included in the show. "Expletive" is an experiment in the aestheticization of derogatory labels. Aaron Wilder employs vividness, repetition, and the form of text to disempower slurs used everyday by obscuring the word through the stacking of its letters on top of each other. What remains is an aesthetic and geometric arrangement of shapes.