Reinhard Grüner is a collector from Monaco. His passion is art books, which he collects – and sometimes exhibits – since the 1960s.
His website, www.buchkunst.info is a real “online museum”, where international artist books are catalogued and photographed. Amongst the artists there are Henri Matisse and Andy Warhol. Books, but also works of art made of images and text, created by the artist often in collaboration with a writer and a publisher. For the high artistic quality – original graphics, unique designs, paintings and collages – these works are different from the usual picture books. Their manifestations are multiple: books with graphic effects, objects-book, artist’s books, sometimes printed in offset or illustrated by works of artists.
At the centre of Grüner’s attention there are Eastern German and Eastern European books (mainly Russia, Hungary, Lithuania); many of these works were created in response to specific social, political and cultural issues, with unimaginable insights into the culture of modernity.
Reinhard first came in contact with the art in book form with the English Edition, printed privately, of “A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig”, printed in 1975 by Shoestring Press on paper of the legendary Chiswick Press: from here begins a life of a book maniac among thousands of books. As Grüner states in an essay, the acquisition of artist books is more than a simple purchase: the artist, the life as a collector and thoughts are tied together, they influence each other, and a network of contacts with other collectors begins. With nearly all the books in his collection Grüner forms a symbiotic relationship: each of them describes, explains, and gets to the heart of some chapters of his life.