New in Artists’ Books: Sanctus Sonorensis

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To kick off a new column on our blog (showcasing new publications in artists’ books), let’s start with none other than our very own Philip Zimmermann, a book artist, teacher, thinker and all-around interesting human.

Started seven years ago at the Border Art Residency in New Mexico, Sanctus Sonorensis emerged from Phil’s interest and observations in the landscape and the complex issues surrounding border crossings. The first edition of the book was published in 2006 while at a residency at Light Work in Syracuse, New York, and was printed by inkjet.

Because the book consists of a series of landscape photographs by Phil, he envisioned another edition in the form of a board book, which allows images to span the gutter without the interruption of a sewn signature. But also, Phil likes to push the borders of what a book is and what a form can do. Here are some of his own words:

“I decided to emphasize the missal-breviary-beatitude idea by making it look like a sort of high tech version of those Catholic book forms. I added gilded edges, the rounded corners and the gold-foil stamped titles to have a visual association with religious books. The text is meant to be read out loud as if by priest or an acolyte standing in front of a congregation (and maybe even repeated back by their flock), and I wanted the book to have the right kind of look (or bling) for that task.”

Two-page spread from book’s interior. (Source: Philip Zimmermann.)

The book becomes a sort of prayer; a really beautiful, slow meditation whose point of departure perhaps originated at the border, but ends in a contemplation of humanity. Phil presents a kind of sympathetic view towards all of the involved humans, while clearly asking us to reexamine our own value systems. And I’m happy to have it in my collection.

You can read more about the process of making the book here and you can purchase the book directly from Phil for $50 (+ tax and shipping) by emailing him. I highly recommend doing this.