Cairo: Islam Aly, 2020. Hardcover. 1 of 30 copies (and five proofs). Signed, numbered, and dated by the artist. "Statera" explores the rhombic dot system behind the Thuluth script. An Arabic, elegant, cursive writing that is used on architectural monuments and manuscripts. In Arabic, this system is called "Mizan Al Horof" (balance of letters). "Statera" shows each letter's specific structure, which is built of a significant rule: the number of dots. The 28 letters are printed in Thuluth script with vibrant red color, over regular handwritten text by ordinary people. Different styles, signatures, seals, notes, and markings from legal ledger paper contrast with the Thuluth script rules. This contrast reveals an engaging perspective hidden between the balanced letters and aged documents. The fourteen rhombus pieces of camel bone are engraved with a letter on each side, echoing the book's interior.
legal ledger paper from the late 1800s and 1900s, museum board, hand-printed Arabic letters from magnesium plates, laser-engraved wooden boards, book cloth, stiff-leaf binding with leather wrappings connected to laser engraved camel bone pieces. Size: 3.5 x 3.5 x 2.75
Islam Aly is an Egyptian-born book artist and teacher based in Iowa. His books explore the possibilities of historical bindings in contemporary book art practices They have appeared in international exhibitions in the United States and abroad, and in private and public collections including the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Library of Chile, Yale University, and Bibliotheca Alexandrina. In an artist's statement he writes: "When I make a historical book structure, I go through a learning process. I learn the history as well as the different physical aspects of the binding such as how a book form is constructed in a specific sequence. I learn about the use of different materials such as paper, wood, leather and dyes. I learn to make choices in selecting and replacing traditional materials that I don’t have access to. I use these different experiences to enhance my work in making artists’ books and to use historical and cultural references from these structures in the actual content. In essence, I wish to explore new ways to use the rich structures of historical books in contemporary artists’ book practice and incorporate contemporary content into strictly historical structures." ARTB/122021. Fine.