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Documenting an Artist: Part 3

Reviewing my previous entries, we have a few ways of documenting how an artist thinks. When we focus on the smaller details of their life and work, or “the mundane,” we begin to see a different side of their personality that the work can’t always tell us. For example, looking at Belén’s collection of images shows us both her need for tactility in her practice, while also providing an example for her love of texture and inorganic shapes in our day-to-day lives. When it comes to “the mundane”, nothing too small or insignificant can really be looked over. While I was working in her studio, I made a special effort to collect another one of my favorite examples of “the mundane”: the artist’s personal library. 

Much like journals, libraries are a practice we all tend to do. Whether we collect them for reference, or even as a display piece, libraries are a glimpse into someone’s personality. Subconsciously, when we are making a decision to own a book, we are actively making an effort to keep its information available to us. In return, when we begin to form a library, we begin to document what subjects are important to us- even if we haven’t read every book in them. An outside observer of an artist’s personal library can gain some insight on what influences or contexts the artist had on their mind when looking at their practice. Besides this insight, personal libraries provide a more approachable resource of an archive, as just looking at their collection can instantly show us important subject matter and influences.

Belén held her library in the top loft part of her studio, close to her desk. Consisting of three large bookshelves, the library decorated this upper space. Belen shares the studio with her partner, Bruno, and informed me that the majority of the books were his, but shared between them. However, her personal collection were packed in boxes directly behind her desk, ready to be put on display. These were the ones I paid special attention to, and much like the inspiration images in her paper collection, I documented them in the order I found them.

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