On the occasion of the centennial of the Association of the Friends of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Galerie Documents 15 is pleased to present the suite of prints : Le Magasin Central des Imprimés .
This suite, realised with the support of les Amis de la BnF (the Friends of the BnF) was initiated in 2010. It aims at showing different aspects of the Magasins Labrouste before their restauration.
The magasin central des imprimés is the immense space of book storage situated in the quadrangle of the BnF Richelieu in the extension of the Salle Labrouste (Labrouste Room), named after its architect Henri Labrouste (1801-1875).
This metal nave built at the end of the Empire was extended several times since until it contained more than ten million volumes on twelve floors before their transfer to the new Grande Bibliothèque Claude Perrault at Tolbiac.
This space, worthy of Piranesi, Jules Verne, Kafka as well as of Borges, a maze of staircases, galleries, and corridors, is particularly inspiring for an artist who had already etched a large print of the Salle Labrouste room just before its closure to the public in 1998 and made many drawings of these places.
The realization of this sequence consisting of six prints was begun in late 2010. Shown in various states together with the preparatory drawings in the BnFs Salle des donateurs in October 2012, it was on this occasion the subject of a publication Erik Desmazières, Érik Desmazières, voyage au centre de la bibliothèque (Journey to the Center of the Library), Paris, BnF Hazan.
It was also presented this fall with trial proofs and enhanced proofs at the Gallery Ditesheim & Maffei Fine Art, Neuchâtel, accompanied by a catalog, Érik Desmazières, bibliothèques & autres curiosités (Erik Desmazières, libraries & other curiosities), and more recently at Gallery Kawamatsu Tokyo.
The suite is finally shown today in its definitive form. The prints describe the place at the very special moment when, completely emptied of its books, important restoration works will make it inaccessible for years.
The total edition of the six prints is 75 copies.
*50 numbered copies from 1 to 50 are sold en suite enriched by a frontispice and contained in a cloth slipcase with an engraved label
*25 copies numbered from 51 to 75 are sold separately (not including the frontispice).
An additional 5 suites were printed for the collaborators and the Dépôt Légal (legal deposit).
The publishing of these prints coincides with the centennial of the Friends of the BnF. On this occasion a print, Salle Labrouste fragment Nord ( the Labrouste room, Northern fragment), made after a drawing contained in the Carnet Labrouste, offered by the artist to the BnF in 2013, has been reserved for the friends of the association.
Exhibition from 29 November to 18 January 2014