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Registration | 28.02.2011

To create more public awareness for the book as an independent genre of art production, the EU-funded project "Artists' Books on Tour - Artist Competition and Mobile Museum" was launched in June 2010 by the MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art (Vienna) with the MGLC - International Centre of Graphic Arts (Ljubljana) and the UPM - Museum of Decorative Arts (Prague). The core activities of the project cover

  • the implementation of a competition among European artists
  • the evaluation of the results by an international jury awarding the best submissions
  • the presentation of selected works in a "Mobile Museum" touring several European cities


As the term "artist's book" covers a broad field of artistic production with fuzzy boundaries, please consider the following text as an inspiration and/or guideline for your contributions:

Art theory defines artists' books as a specific art genre comprising visual artworks that present artistic ideas in book form, relating to the book's specific conceptual and physical properties.

Artists' books are multimedia and transmedia art forms, characterized by the hybridization of the textual and the visual, reading and viewing, literary culture and the visual arts. Bringing various disciplines together, artists' books create liminal spaces that uncover new relations between, for instance, the private and the public, the aesthetic and the political, the gift and the commodity. These spaces are platforms for the expression of new artistic and aesthetic contents; they function as communication tools that reveal new aesthetic and cultural paradigms, processes of political mobilization, and the effects of ideology.

The history of artists' books, almost two centuries long, is informed by ongoing research of the medium and its mutations. The beginnings of the genre can be identified in William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Songs of Innocence and of Experience in which Blake's approach to text and images differed from that otherwise used in illustrated books. He created the prototype of what came to be known as the artist's book. Numerous artists, above all the avant-gardes and those inspired by or relating to them, discovered the endless possibilities in the hybridization of the visual and the written in book form. Artists' books became a specific form of expression of artistic ideas that was different from the illustrated book, the livre d'artiste, fine press, and book art.

Always open to the new, artists' books are certainly ready for the new digital age we live in. New computer and internet technologies pose fresh challenges to the genre precisely because of their constitutive feature, i.e. the capability of overcoming the limitations of their own medium. Today, artists' books face a vast range of development possibilities that bring new approaches to, and considerations of, what constitutes bookness in a haptic and cultural sense as well as within the new field of the digital.


In order to bring visibility to contemporary developments in the field of artists' books, we offer artists a platform to share their work within a unique all-European competition among book artists for the first time ever. We therefore invite artists to hand in their recent or planned art projects in the field: submissions will be accepted as completed physical or digital book objects or in the form of conceptual designs for projected but yet-unrealized book works. Outstanding works will be awarded a grant given by an international jury.

Registration: December 1st, 2010 - February 28th, 2011
Submission: December 1st, 2010 - May 2nd, 2011 (postmark)
Jury session: June 2011
Realization of winning concepts: July - September 30th, 2011
ABoT Award Nite in Vienna: October 11th, 2011

Touring exhibition: October 11th, 2011 - May 31st, 2012
Vienna: October 11th, 2011 - January 8th, 2012
Prague: January 16th - March 18th, 2012
Ljubljana: March 26th - May 31st, 2012


Artists of any age who live and work in Europe are eligible to enter the contest. Artist collectives may also apply. Please note that teams have to name one contact person (in the ONLINE APPLICATION) and will be treated as a single person in the event of winning a prize (prize money will only be paid once).


Submissions are accepted via postal mail or personal delivery. Please stick to the following application procedure:

  1. Send a short registration e-mail including your name, address, country and e-mail-address to by February 28th, 2011.
  2. Fill in the ONLINE APPLICATION by May 2nd, 2011.
  3. Send your submission (including either your original artwork or your conceptual design plus a copy of the confirmation e-mail you will receive) by May 2nd, 2011 to:

    MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art
    "Artists' Books on Tour"
    Stubenring 5
    A-1010 Vienna

    Or hand it in personally at the MAK staff entrance (Weiskirchnerstrasse 1, Mon - Sun 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.).
    Contact: Kathrin Pokorny-Nagel, Head of the MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection

Please use English only in your application form. Enclosed documents such as CVs, artistic statements or else must be in English as well. The language, or languages, used in your project are - of course - a matter of artistic expression and may be freely chosen.

The deadline for submission is May 2nd, 2011. Any items arriving after this date (postmark) will not be considered by the jury, neither will incomplete submissions be admitted to the contest.


An international jury will evaluate the submitted artists' books (objects or concepts) in a session held in Vienna in June 2011 and will select 5 outstanding works to be awarded a prize as well as other notable works eligible to receive a recognition award.

The evaluation results will be published online by the end of June 2011. Prizewinners will also be notified in writing.


The jury will select 5 outstanding projects to be awarded a prize money of € 2,000 each. In addition, other notable works will receive a recognition award. In the event of their winning of a prize, artists who have submitted a conceptual design undertake to carry out their project by September 30th, 2011, in sufficient time for the scheduled exhibition opening (October 11th, 2011, see TERMS & CONDITIONS, point 2.5). Recognition award winners who have submitted a conceptual design will be contacted for special arrangements to exhibit their projects.

Furthermore, all prize winners (including recognition award winners) are invited to participate in the ABoT Award Nite, scheduled for October 11th, 2011 at the MAK Vienna, at the organizers' expense.

The winning projects as well as works receiving a recognition award will be exhibited in a "Mobile Museum", a new touring exhibition format that will be shown in Vienna, Prague and Ljubljana between October 11th, 2011 and May 31st, 2012.

All winning projects will be featured in a digital online collection as well as in a printed catalogue, which is planned to be published after the exhibition.