PERSPECTIVA PRACTICA – Library of the University of Graz

This work is based on a historical instructional illustration from Jean Du Breuil’s 1642 textbook The Practice of Perspective, or, An Easy Method of Representing Natural Objects According to the Rules of Art. The original work is a copperplate engraving, which was just about the only technique used to reproduce images in the 300 years following the invention of letterpress printing in the 15th century. In her work for the university library, Anna Artaker scaled the motif to architectural dimensions and transferred it to the underside of the new projecting structure using sgraffito. The bibliographical reference to the source – which is also the title of the work – is inserted as a counter-relief into four consecutive steps in the area below it.

Anna Artaker’s work adds another – surprisingly multi-layered – dimension to the underside of the projecting structure of the university library. The perspective depicted in the image, which is massively enlarged and scratched into the plaster, creates a strong three-dimensional, dome-like effect. Moreover, being a book illustration, the image is a concrete reference to books – that very medium that is archived, categorised and made accessible in the library.