Celeste Maia ~ Spain

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Celeste Maia: "My interest in making books as art grew out of many years of painting. I started painting in Mozambique where I grew up, and continued in other places I lived - South Africa, France, Portugal, United States, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Italy and Spain, a background that gave me multiple perspectives on approaches to art, culture, and life. Figurative painting tells a story, so there was a connection with books from the beginning. …

"These strands of interest resolved into artist books, working from the support of a book to convey images and thoughts, exploring the aesthetic possibilities of paper, painting, illustrating, and writing to construct an object one could manipulate. Artist books have become an enduring passion. I find every aspect of an artist book - materials, concept and content, imagery, fabrication and presentation – essential to the creative process."

The Mermaid's Dream
By Celeste Maia
[Madrid, Spain]: Serpens Caput, 2016. Edition of 10.

8.75 x 9 x 2" box containing a tunnel book and accordion book.
Tunnel structure: 8" X 8.84" X 1.3" closed; seven panels. Cut and glued by hand, containing a magnetically triggered LED light, extending from the right base of the inside of the clamshell box.
Accordion book: 8 x 8.25"; 6 panels. Inserted in the hinged double-lid of the box. Calligraphy text and oil painted images on handmade Moinho da Chuva Mill paper, digitally scanned.
Clamshell box covered in book cloth, machine sewn, with hot foil hand-stamped lettering. Lokta paper and recycled acid free paper.

Celeste Maia: "The Mermaid's Dream is inspired by Jorge Luis Borges's idea of circular time and duality, man as dream and dreamer. It recreates the mystery and magic I experienced at a beach party in 1974, celebrating Portugal's revolution. Sometimes an event happens that defies everything we know. Over time we even doubt our memory. But it haunts us.

"I painted the girl as I remember her, sleeping by the sea in the silvery night. But then she disappeared — into the waves? Did I dream the girl dreaming she is a mermaid? Or is the mermaid dreaming she is the girl at the beach party who later makes an artists' book? Meanwhile, the mermaid vanishes down her own illuminated blue path into another dream."

$650 (Four copies remaining)

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On the World
By Celeste Maia
[Madrid, Spain]: Serpens Caput, 2016. Edition of 20.

13 x 7.66"; 34 gatefold pages. Digitally typeset text and images. Bound in paper-covered boards with toile de Marais cloth spines and hand embroidered headbands. French-door binding. Boards illustrated with hand block print and calligraphy. Endpapers and pastedown hand painted with acrylic of imaginary map sketches. Laid in four-flap machine-sewn cloth pouch with vintage buttons. Materials: Hanji paper, cloth, acrylic paints, binder's board, thread, and buttons. Photography by Celeste Pais and Celeste Maia. Typography and image editing by Javier Lerin. Book design by Celeste Maia. Signed and numbered by Maia.

Celeste Maia: "I have been in movement all my life, from city to city, country to country, continent to continent. Mostly it wasn’t tourism, but education, family, and work that led me to reside in different places and learn the customs, culture, and language. Wanderlust is deeply ingrained in my psyche and is what feels natural to me.

"The idea of conveying the constant wonderment of experiencing places in an artist book was deeply appealing to me. We understand a new place with our mind, our feet, and our eyes. So I made
On the World elemental, relying mostly on photos I took of places and events that are personally meaningful, remembering the physical experience of being there, and evoking writings and thoughts about travel that have inspired me."

The left opening in each gatefold contains a travel quotation and an image of shod feet; the right opening is a two-page spread of "wanderings" where the shod feet may well have trod: Atacama Desert, Bolivia; Tamil Nadu, India; Bardolino, Italy….

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Page last update: 03.07.17


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