Codex Exhibition

Presented by the CCA Wattis Institute
January 23–March 29

John Baldessari, "Two Voided Books," 1990

Wattis Institute, San Francisco Campus
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Reception: Thursday, January 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Gallery hours: Tues.-Fri., noon-7 p.m.; Sat., noon-5 p.m.; closed Sun. and Mon.
Info: 415.355.9673 or wattis.org

Codex is a rumination on the idea that even though books have effectively been “flattened” in our digital age, we persist in expecting our screen-based reading experiences to imitate “traditional” books: by retaining page numbers, by simulating the turning of pages, et cetera.

Numerous artists throughout history have experimented with transitioning books from three-dimensional to two-dimensional and vice versa, and it continues to be a recurring motif in the most recent contemporary art.

Codex will be organized around myriad works -- a virtual library -- presented on a central wall. Some of the works take the known form of the artist’s book; others venture further afield.

Codex was conceived by Pierre Leguillon, an artist and book collector, during his 2013 residency in San Francisco. The title is a reference to the earliest known bound books, which appeared between the 1st and 2nd century AD. Replacing the scroll, codexes made it possible to more intuitively hierarchize the content of a text and allowed more immediate access to a desired page.

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Codex is made possible through a collaboration with Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève), Switzerland, and generously supported by swissnex San Francisco. Codex has was originally presented at Live in Your Head, HEAD – Genève’s curatorial institute.

Founding support for CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts programs has been provided by Phyllis C. Wattis and Judy & Bill Timken. Generous support provided by Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund and the CCA Wattis Institute Curator’s Forum.