n Merano there is a special place: the archive of the artist’s book for children Ó.P.L.A (Oasi Per Libri Artistici – Artistic Books Oasis). Project coordinated by Barbara Nestico and with the expert advice of Marcia Corraini, the archive comes from the desire to bring together the work of many artists (painters, sculptors, designers…) that during their journey they approached – even one-off – the world of childhood designing books for children.
The art books are special objects, often unknown, which can be found in different places: to artist’s books published and available on the market and pulled alongside works kept in museums, foundations and private collections; original projects in the possession of the artists themselves; or, rare editions out of print. Rather than the traditional picture books talking about real works of art, an expression of creative freedom applied to all stages of processing: material, size, layout, binding selection. Often unexpectedly, many artists have achieved a high level right in books for children, works that can be a strong stimulus even for adults.
The Archive Ó.P.L.A., a special fund of the Public Library of Merano – border town where three different languages meet and where the universal language of poetry and art play a unifying meaning – was developed to accommodate particular works that become so available and usable by scholars, critics, teachers, graphic designers, illustrators, designers, editors, researchers, provides the valuable opportunity to view, compare, get ideas, discover trends and styles, finding relationships. Of course it is also a project for children and young people, that through the Archive have access to little-known books, hard to find, or even never published because they were considered too complicated for the logic of the market or the inability to realize them in series.
The archive can go away, so to say, with the package “Ó.P.L.A. on tour” you can host an exhibition of artists’ books for children; In this way the unique heritage collected over the years can move and spread. The “show kits” provided to interested parties includes a targeted selection of art books, a range of materials and components made for the installation of the exhibition, a reduced size version of the paper catalog with the record of all the works held in the Archive complete of a brief biography of the artists who made them.
The site www.opla.comune.merano.bz.it collects the catalog of books, projects and artists, the list of workshops organized from the Archives, a browsable magazine and news to stay up to date, but the bibliophile (or bookaddicted) nothing is more captivating than a visit live.