Monica Oppen





Monica Oppen works in the book arts, writing, printmaking and bookbinding. Her most recent major work Stabat Mater received a highly commended in the 59th Blake Prize for Religious and Spiritual Art. Over 20 years she has been collecting books by artists. As a way of promoting the genre she established the Bibliotheca Librorum apud Artificem, the library for the artist's book. The collection is in Sydney and is open by appointment. Please visit

While studying printmaking at art school in Sydney in the 1980s Monica Oppen became interested putting her work into books. There was no formal book arts component in the course. Realising she liked to create series of prints and work with text and disliking the impact of framing on the visual texture of the printed surface she decided that books were the medium to explore. She learnt to bind with Daphne Lera, a traditionally trained hand binder from England, and began to collect the books of other artists. The motivation for collecting was to connect with other book works, so her own books were not alone on the shelf! A key artist whose work she collected initially was the work of Peter Lyssiotis. It was when a Sydney student wanting to see Peter's work visited that she realised that sharing the books with others was as interesting as owning them. Since then she has continued collecting, has catalogued the collection and set up a website of the work. She continues to work as a printmaker and bookbinder.


The role of exhibitions in promoting the book arts: Putting together The Silent Scream; political and social comment in books by artists


Working in the field of bookarts and also collecting books by artists has lead me to conclude that there is a third important aspect to the promoting a lively and dynamic culture life in the bookarts, as in any other fine arts genre. This aspect is exhibition. Within exhibition I see two zones or areas of exposure; private and public. Both types of exhibition have advantages and disadvantages. The private is intense, personal but limited in number. The public is potentially big in viewer numbers but less personal. Ideally a person inspired by seeing books in a public exhibition will be enthused to track down a closer interaction with the books though a private viewing.

The work in The Silent Scream; political and social comment in books by artists allows the visitor to focus on the diversity of expression possible with in the book. We encourage you to visit.


Wednesday 28 September


1:30pm - 3.00pm





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