Dobbin Books ~ New York
(Robbin Ami Silverberg)

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Collaborations with South African artists
collaborations with Louise McCagg

   

Robbin Ami Silverberg of Dobbin Books & Paper Mill writes of her collaborative bookworks: "In essence, the creative process, which from our cultural perspective contains at its core individual statement, is transformed by the inclusion and disruption of another's vision. This fascination has brought much of my work into the arena of collaborative discourse. The artist book, as a complex container of information, asserts its sensibility on the artist as an ideal collaborative vehicle."

   
continual conversation with a silent man
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
Brooklyn, New York: Dobbin Mill, 2014. Edition of 10 variants.

Large book: 16 x 12"; 9 leaves (8 panty leaves, 1 leaf of blue paper); stab binding. Small book: 6.25 x 5.25"; 18 pages text & image, 3 leaves of blue paper, 1 reflective sheet. Archival inkjet text & photography on Dobbin Mill papers. Other materials: underwear, aluminum foil, thread, bookcloth. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Robbin Ami Silverberg: "Continual Conversation… is a book within a book: The larger stab binding of blue & black contains a sequence of pages, the paper made with embedded girls’ underwear & cut with player piano slots. Out of context, the panties become anthropomorphized masks, along with ominously suggesting those little girls now absent.

“A much smaller book can be found within its back cover. Idiosyncratic images and a text present the tale of an abused woman & her daughter who are pushed to suicide by their absent husband and father. It is based on
Love Suicides, a Palm of Hand novella by Yasunari Kawabata, and told here through the descriptive titles of Wallace Steven’s poems.

“Together this strange story and the panties of absent girls create a disconcerting dialogue of misogyny & loss.”

$ 1800

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smell of winter
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
Brooklyn, New York: Dobbin Mill , 2014. Edition of 10 variants.

12.5 x 13"; 12 leaves (12.5 x 13"), 8 pages (8 x 11.5"). Archival inkjet text & photography on Dobbin Mill papers. Laid in custom clamshell box (13.5 x 14"). Perfume vial set in. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Robbin Ami Silverberg: "Color, texture, and layering, along with scent & sound, are all utilized here to evoke the feel of the ‘smell of winter’. A vial of Snow perfume, is included in the clamshell, designed & produced in a limited edition of 12 spray vials especially for this book.

“Nestled on the translucent pages with embedded silk are tiny slats of paper with the chemical names used in the perfume. These words become an absurdist sound poem; simultaneously, the abstract imagery becomes suggestive of enlargements of microscopy.

“The central signature depicts images of shadows made on the snow & ice on a visit to Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, Salt Lake, Utah, along with the handwritten recipe for the perfume.

“On the final page, a narrow paper strip is tipped on, with a text by the artist, I mentioned the North Pole. “

$ 2200 (Four copies remaining)

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bread head fables
By Robbin Ami Silverberg with András Böröcz
Brooklyn, New York: Dobbin Mills, 1994/2013. Edition of 3.

20 x 11 x 3" multiple component book work in custom sectioned box. Components: four part folding backdrop (14.75 x 10.25 x 1" closed); 22 photographs in individual 2.75 x 3.5" (may vary by image) standing frames; "Mosha's Bakery" pamphlet (5.5 x 7.5"; 8 pages including exterior) in envelope; "Popieluszko News Collected" book (5.5 x 6.5" closed with 4 double page fold outs) in envelope. Signed and numbered by Silverberg.

From the exhibition "In the Playground of a Master Alchemist": "Bread Head Fables, which commemorates the life and subsequent martyrdom of Father Jerzy Popieluszko (1947-84), a Roman Catholic priest who lived in Poland. The priest was kidnapped in 1984 by the Polish police and later murdered. A monument to his memory was erected in Greenpoint's Popieluszko Square in 1990 but was vandalized by local Polish communists, who broke off its head. This act - and the ever-present pigeons feeding off bread in the square - spurred Böröcz to carve heads from bread. The sculptures were photographed in the square for the book, which was produced in an edition of three, with one proof. The work consists of a box containing a four-part backdrop and a series of 22 framed photographs of the sculptures and their setting. Looking at the book is a participatory experience; viewers are required to assemble a diorama that tells the story."

Dobbin Mills: "The book requires the viewer to assemble the diorama that defines the fable. It contains a four-part backdrop and a series of small framed photographs of bread head sculpture and of the Popieluscko Square in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The square was named after the Polish priest who was murdered in 1984 for supporting the Solidarity movement. Seeing and smelling the bread that lay around for the pigeons in the nearby square was the catalyst for using bread as a sculptural material. The heads, which have been exhibited in gallery situations, were now returned to their place of origin in the making of the book.

"In 2013 Silverberg returned to
Bread Head Fables, to design new boxes and make two smaller book editions to add to the project. News about Popieluscko is a pamphlet (foldout) concertina with citations taken from news reports during a ten year period. These articles have highlighted text — words many times repeated, such as murder, kidnap, death, etc. Mosha’s Bread is a simple pamphlet where Silverberg collected the information about the now defunct bakery which provided the bread for Böröcz’s sculpture."
$2,500


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missing book
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
Brooklyn, New York: Dobbin Mill , 2012 / 2013. Continuing edition of variants.

12 x 14"; 10 leaves. Library catalog cards, paint, ink, typewriter, and archival inkjet on Dobbin Mill paper, staples. Bound in printed boards with cloth spine. Signed by the artist.

Robbin Ami Silverberg: "The tragedy of lost life and of the bookseller community of Al-Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad, was the catalyst for a traveling book exhibition. Catalog cards from the Brooklyn Museum Libraries were utilized to reference the books destroyed and missing, by embedding them into translucent paper and created a series called 'Lost Books.'

"Subsequently, I decided to continue with this type of exploration and allow the catalog cards and their texts to suggest new directions for content.

"In this series of unique works, '
Missing Books' I’ve used collage, acrylic paint as 'white-out,' and inks for manuscript-like commentary to develop their 'story-lines.' Their subjects range from a commemoration of a memory, to proverbs about reading, to a reflection about books at night."
$650

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lost books series: book five
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
Brooklyn, New York: Dobbin Mill, 2012. Continuing edition of variants.

6.75 x 9.5"; 14 pages. Materials: library catalog cards; paint; ink & archival inkjet on Dobbin Mill paper with inclusions; stained book cloth; staples. Bound in cloth covered boards with inset paper illustration. Signed by the artist.

Robbin Ami Silverberg: "The tragedy of lost life and of the bookseller community of Al-Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad was the catalyst for a traveling book exhibition and this ongoing series of 'lost books.' Library catalog cards were an effective choice of material to reference the books destroyed and LOST.

"So I sat with the cards, read hundreds, searching out those that related by content or style, or created interesting texts. Using acrylic paint as 'white-out' I continued to develop the 'story-lines' of this ongoing series. Paper was made with inclusions of written & drawn elements, and the book cloth was purposely stained. The resulting series honors the books that are missing and makes new ones from those ruins."

$650

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self-scrutiny
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
Brooklyn, New York: Dobbin Mill , 2011. Edition of 20.

4.25 x 5.9 x 3.2" two-piece box containing 49 cards (3 x 5"). Materials: Glass mirror; Dobbin Mill papers made from cotton, abaca & pulped cataloged cards; library catalog cards; acrylic paint; silk bookcloth; brass hardware. Archival inkjet text and images. Box: clot-covered with brass id slot containing title card. Signed and numbered by the artist on the last 3 x 5" card.

Robbin Ami Silverberg: "After reading István Örkény’s novella ‘Self Scrutiny’, I found a tongue-in-cheek syzygy to this terse yet information-loaded tale in the now (sadly) dated card catalog system used in libraries. For this artist book edition, I worked with cards that have been donated courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and images of cards in the still active Petofi Literary Museum archive in Budapest. By repeatedly writing/typing/painting and re-writing actual cards along with fictitious ones, I was able to re-create both the storyline and my own commentary. The latter appears as notational references about simulacrum and hyper-reality.

“This box of cards tells the story of a man’s attempt to face the ‘fact’ that his mirror image has become independent of himself. The paper and mirror card were fabricated each with a hole, that keeps them in sequence on a screw post, and which, references the missing hole in the last line: ‘And the strangest of all, the glass had no trace of a bullet-hole’.”

$925

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affidavit
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
Brookl
yn, New York: Dobbin Mill, 2009. Edition of 10 variants.

9.25 x 12.25"; 11 leaves. Archival inkjet printing, typewriter corrections and notary stamps on Dobbin Mill papers. Bound in paper-covered boards with cloth spine. Signed and numbered by the artist. 5.5 x 8.5; 28 pages. Pamphlet sewn. Bound in lightweight Dobbin paper. Signed by the artist on the cover wrapper. Both items laid in cloth-covered tray box with inset at bottom of tray for smaller book. Finger holes on tray and in tray bottom for ease of lifting books out.

Robbin Ami Silverberg: "Affidavit is an artist book about a ‘day in the life of an artist…’ spanning seven official affidavits that have been notarized in New York City, by different notary officers. Hungarian writer István Örkény’s story of the same name, from his "One Minute Stories," was the fillip for this small edition.

"
Affidavit is both a performance and artist book: the exchanges with the notaries while requesting their services often segued into complex discussions: of what is a signature / what is identity / what are signifiers of identity. This engagement, which took place over weeks, is described in the 'Compendium.'

"To get a sense of the performative aspect of
Affidavit, the business cards I collected, along with some receipts, and the notarized Hungarian versions are here displayed with the book.

"The book lies in a box, designed like office filing storage, with a compartment below for the 'Compendium to Affidavit.'"

$1,400

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Amanuensis
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
Brooklyn, New York: Dobbin Mill , 2009. Edition of 5.

8 x 6 x 7.25" white oak wooden case with 6 glass booklets with 18-carat-gold gilded mirrors. Archival inkjet text on pulp painted papers.

Robbin Ami Silverberg: "Amanuensis uses the reflection and reduction of the written word, along with the expressiveness of its materials: gold gilded mirror, paper, and silk on glass – to describe the loss of one’s identity. The pages of the books are fragile, glass, housed in an oak case, like a casket. The words are printed in reverse and can only be read in the mirror, made precious by its material. The text loses letters as it repeats within the first 5 booklets.

"Here, the signature is considered the written mark of identity and, like our name, defines who we are. An
amanuensis is a copyist.

"
Amanuensis was part of an installation about the signature at Lehman College Gallery (2009)."
$2,600 (Two copies remaining)

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budi
By Andràs Böröcz
New York: Dobbin Mill, 2007-2008. Edition of 40.

1.25 x 6"; 44 pages including 7 foldout pages. Text in English and German. Archival inkjet printing on vellum papers. Serigraphy by Luther Davis, Axelle Editions. Bound in handmade papers by Dobbin Mill over boards with cloth spine.

Three artists – Andràs Böröcz, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Luther Davis – produce a book about the most basic of human needs.

Robbin Ami Silverberg: "Budi is a trip along a river through the land of Budi (slang for outhouse in Hungarian). With long horizontal pages – many of them foldouts to further capture the extensive landscape – the ‘budi’ world is populated with anthropomorphized outhouses busy with life and its activities."

Text excerpted from Baal by Bertolt Brecht:

.. In all the world, the place he liked best
was not the bench, upon his parents' rest. ...

Urge thought the best place known to man,
in this world was the outhouse, and:

This was the place, to set the cheeks aglow
with stars above, filth and shit below ..."

$900


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identity
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
New York: Dobbin Mill, 2008. Edition of 10.

9.2 x 12.25"; 22 leaves. Archival inkjet printing, carbon pencil, and paper cutting. Handmade papers by Dobbin Mill. Bound in paper-covered boards with cloth spine.

A text by the artist questions the images of identity.

Colophon : "Self-portrait photographs from 9 years of age to 49, along with stamped pages from an expired passport."

So, there I found
myself photographing
photographs of
photographs.
And, the images
referred to my self but
without a denotation
that I could figure.

$1385


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Mourning Prayer
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
Brooklyn, New York: Dobbin Books, 2000. Edition of 20.

13 x 4"; 186 pages. Hand stamped text. Handmade Dobbin Mill papers. Signed and numbered by the artist.

The format & design replicates a ticketing booklet common in Central Europe. The translucent pages represent the 186 steps of the Staircase of Death at Mauthausen, the World War II concentration camp in Austria. Each of the pages is divided in three sections and stamped with hand-carved numbers and text. The monotony of the pagination and endless sequence of numbers acts as a mantra and compliment to the prayer, which is comprised of a series of similar sounding words that remind one of walking noises -- step, steep, stomp, stamp, stop, slip, slap, spit.

Dorota Biczel Nelson, "Sacred Texts/Contemporary Forms" Exhibit, Layton Gallery, Milwaukee School of Art and Design: "Robbin Ami Silverberg's Mourning Prayer is a practically wordless homage to the victims of Mauthausen concentration camp. In this book the material itself (hand-made paper) and rubber stamp numbers speak quietly to the horrors of granite 186-step 'Staircase of Death.'"

Robbin Silverberg, "Women of the Book": "At its best, I am a member of the 'People of the Book' ... of a long and rich history of learning and thinking. At its worst, I am a descendant of a misogynist patriarchal people ... one that I will repeatedly question and react against. Either way, it is a part of me and who I am. Many of my artist books have been identified as 'Jewish' in theme; at the same time, being Jewish is not central to my work ... being human is."
$1,000

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titok
By Robbin Ami Silverberg et al.
New York: Dobbin Books, 1996-1998. Edition of 5.

12 x 12 x 12" closed. Consists of 27 4" blocks. Housed in a lidded collapsible box.

Twenty artists and writers plus one musician were asked via letter to send, inform, or instruct Silverberg about a secret. As the secretist, she used their responses to create titok—twenty-seven four-inch blocks that form a twelve-inch cube of three layers (nine cubes per layer). Some boxes are fully closed, some have peepholes, and some are open with boxes within. The exterior and interior faces are covered with over 200 images and texts produced by photography, photocopy, photo transfer and drawing. The imaging on the blocks functions like a maze through which the viewer proceeds, exploring the ideas and feelings suggested about secrets. Each block has a hidden material within that makes noise when rattled. Also included is a CD with a 27-part violin piece composed specifically for the viewing of titok.

Silverberg: “There is neither table of contents nor smoking gun to trace the sources of the elements which make up this artist book. Authorship is treated as privileged information in order to focus the readers' attention on the initial outsider relationship of beholder to content.. My role in creating this object is that of a secretist, a dealer in secrets.”

Secret providers (from NYC unless otherwise noted): Beattie & Davidson; Sylvia Benitez; Yvette Biro; Andras Borocz; Agnes Eperjesi, Budapest; Daniel Georges; Frank Gillette, Long Island; Martin Kubaczek (with the help of Suzuki Toru: Thuringer Wald Co. Ltd.& Kashiwabara Mio), Tokyo; Endre Kukorelly, Budapest; Louise Lawler; Jean Louis LeBreux, Perce, Quebec; Jennifer Lytton; Gabriel Martinez, Philadelphia; Warren Niedich; Laura Parnes; Geza Perneczky, Köln; Simcha Shirman, Tel Aviv; Wolfgang Staehle; Paul Stang, Arlington, VA; X-art Foundation.

The book was commissioned for In the Flow: Alternative Authoring Strategies, the final exhibition at the Franklin Furnace Gallery in New York City.

$3,000 (Last 2 copies)

 

   
   
Brush
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
Brooklyn, New York: Dobbin Mill, 1995-96. Series of 3.

8 x 5" paper-covered wrap around case with magnetic closure. Two books, each 2 x 4.25", 28 pages, and each laid in a slide out drawer.

Dobbin Books: "Two matchbox-like containers are held together by the concertina-form made of human hair looking like an exquisite brush. The boxes each contain a book, bound on leather cords with waxed linen thread. The texts within each book, sewn with human hair and copper wires, resonate in their similarities but, like the expansion and compression of the ‘brush,’ vary in their meaning and intention."

"Text 1: I feel only sadness after I speak to her. Softly."
"Text 2: I feel only sadness when I speak to her. Gently".


Robbin Silverberg: Brush is an early work that focuses on word cognition. In this case, can words really communicate deep feelings? By changing two minor words in an emotionally charged sentence, the meaning and intention is altered. Also, it is a book that looks at the texture of language and makes equivalents to actually texture , of the human hair / of copper wire … Like the pull and push of this accordion, the two sets of words pull and push as they try to contain or/and present feelings. Lastly, this is not a book that is based only in intellectual exercise. The emotions expressed are real and personal - … “
$925

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Morning Prayer II
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
New York: Dobbin Books, 2004. Edition of 20.

3 x 2.5 x 2.5" accordion fold. Made from paper, photos, mica, teak, and ribbon. Inkjet Printed photographs. Dobbin Mill papers. Housed in a tefillin-shaped case.

Robbin Ami Silverberg: "In a tefillin-shaped case, this tiny book is accordion-folded in a step like pattern with printed archive and contemporary photos of the Todes-steige (Mauthausen's Stairs of Death), interspersed with the one hundred eighty six numbers of the steps themselves."
$330


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Silverberg collaborated with Louise McCagg.
   

Manhattan 05.12.91
By Louise McCagg
New York: Dobbin Mill, 1993. Edition of 20.

7.25 x 7.25 x 5.5". The text was translated by Dobbin Books. It is printed on magnesium plates by Peter Kruty Editions. Petri's cast head functions as the cover when the book is closed and as a bookend when it is opened. Robbin Silverberg made the abaca paper, the cotton paper casting, and the binding.

The Hungarian poet Gyorgy Petri wrote this poem immediately after the molding of his face by Louise McCagg on December 5, 1991. McCagg paces the poem by breaking up the short text so that a word is read as each page is turned.
$425

 


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Silverberg organized collaborations with Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg, South Africa.
   

Clew
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
New York / South Africa: Dobbin Mill / Artist Press, 2004. Edition of 14.

8.75 X 13.5 X .75" Letterpress printed by Mark Atwood at Artist Press in South Africa on Dobbin Mill papers, human hair.

Clew looks at the marriage tree in a Hindu temple in Durban, South Africa. The prose, printed in thin lines of red across a translucent paper, crosses over pulp painted commentary on both its front & back. The text considers the ongoing ritual of young women wrapping the tree with silk threads as a prayer for a potential spouse – and in doing so, the book makes connections between text / texture / textile, as it also connects issues of marriage & bondage. The final sentence was printed on a hanging tag that needs to be spun around in order to be read. The first image in the book is an archival inkjet photo of the actual marriage tree; the polymer plate printed image of Silverberg's spouse with arms bound up with silk threads functions as a wrapper that holds the text leaves. Glued-down stripes of human hair create suggested text lines on the final leaf (& colophon) of the book.
$1250 Four copies remaining)


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Dobbin Books Out of Print Title:

 
   
about pearl
By Robbin Ami Silverberg
Brooklyn, New York: Dobbin Mill, 2009. Edition of 5 variants.

7 x 9.5" with varying sizes of leaves. Archival inkjet printing. Handmade Dobbin Mill papers with inclusions of hair, eggshells and mica. Bound in paper-covered boards with cloth spine. Paper title label on front board. Signed by the artist.

Robbin Ami Silverberg: "I created a series of unique handmade papers for this artist book about my grandmother’s skin and my thoughts on aging. Each book in this series holds the identical text; each is unique because of its variety of papers, that suggest skin’s wondrous wrinkled surface."
(SOLD)

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Page last update: 12.15.16

 

   
  
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