Victor Goppe: Making Books - library exhibition

Victor Goppe, Mi Re Do, 1996
Victor Goppe, Bazar, 1995
Victor Goppe, The Poet from Lianozovo, 2010
Victor Goppe, Wreath of Sonnets, 1998
Victor Goppe, Small Macaroni, 2012

Victor Goppe: Making Books library exhibition

15/01/2017 - 16/04/2017

a daring experiment with words and images

In the exhibition Victor Goppe: Making Books you will discover the artist’s books of the Russian artist Viktor Goppe (1962). Each of his books is not just a striking artifact, it is also a daring experiment with the clear intention to find new forms of coexistence between words and images and trying out unusual ways to show their interactions.

For his works it is important to understand that Goppe did not come of age in the stagnant cultural environment of the Soviet Union. Instead he belongs to a new generation that is the product of the tumultuous and excitingly diverse time of perestroika and the 1990s. Goppe got involved in the art of the Moscow literary conceptualism. He got acquainted with the painter Viktor Pivovarov (born 1937), the poets Igor Kholin (1920–1998), Genrikh Sapgir (1928–1999), and Vladimir Klimov (1951-2010). With their cooperation or approval he published artist’s books with their poetry, thus continuing the art of the Russian Avant-garde of the beginning of the 20th century. The books by Goppe are not only a chapter in contemporary Russian art but also in contemporary Russian literature. 

Viktor Goppe: Making Books shows a way of life, that fits extremely well in the very interesting and flowering world of ‘the artist and the book’ in Russia of this time.

Victor Goppe

Artists such as Viktor Goppe are both the catalysts and the products of a paradigm shift in Russian art. Goppe was born in 1962 in the provincial town of Kineshma, some 200 km north-east of Moscow on the banks of the Volga river into a well-educated middle class family. In 1984 he graduated from the sculptural department of the Riga Stepan Erzia Art school. In 1985 he created his own ceramics studio in Kineshma where he worked until 1987 when he started his studies at the graphic department of the Moscow Higher Institute for the Decorative and Applied Arts (the former Stroganov Institute). Between 1988 and 1991, during his externships, he lived in Odessa and Warsaw working as an interior designer. Almost as by accident Goppe became involved in printing books and in book art because he wanted to help a friend to publish a book that had not passed censorship. The example of his fellow artist Leonid Tishkov (born 1953), who had set up his own publishing house, did convince Goppe that working with books and art was not only possible but did fit him really well and book art has defined his life ever since.


Albert Lemmens and Serge Stommels, Willem-Jan Renders

Opening hours

The exhibition takes place in the library, which is opened from Tuesday until Friday from 11.00 am to 5 pm. Weekends closed. Entrance to the library is free.

LS collection

The books in the exhibition are part of the LS collection. In 2012, the Nijmegen based collectors, Albert Lemmens and Serge Stommels have donated a collection of more than 13,500 titles to the library of the Van Abbemuseum. The collection of Lemmens and Stommels - the LS collection - covers the history of modern art in and outside Russia and the Soviet Union and consists, amongst other things, of artists’ books, children’s books, graphics and journals.