The Project One with Dara Birnbaum
D’ORO D’ART, Where a Book meets Art.
No limits will be set to creativity and experimentation: these are the key elements which, day after day, allow us to merge tradition, art and design to create books of high cultural value, in constant search for perfection.
This is why we decided to create D’ORO D’ART: a unique project by integrating video technology with the uniqueness of our productions involving internationally renowned artists.
The Project One with Dara Birnbaum
In a world steered today by ever changing electronic technologies, facilitating the development of new media art forms can be both a challenge and a revelation. Those with prescience often have adventurous ideas, and despite the odds they manage to bring their innovative ideas to fruition.
D’ORO / D’ART Project began with the unusual challenge of determining how to produce an artwork that combined the highest level of bookmaking craftsmanship with groundbreaking video art. Interestingly, craftsmanship and art are two words that share the same etymological root—ARTES, which comes from Latin. Once conjoined, a long time ago craftsmanship and art were separated, in terms of their conceptual and empirical underpinnings. The D’ORO / D’ART Project successfully brings craftmanship and art back together again, through the unique collaboration of the D’ORO Collection, fine art book publishers based in Rome, and the Marian Goodman Gallery, a leading contemporary art gallery based in New York and Paris.
Salvatore Giorgio Dino, founder and CEO of the D’ORO Collection, had the idea to create an unusual project: a physical book that contained a singular work of video art, which would appear on a screen once the book was opened. He prepared a prototype that effectively joined together the tradition of masterful artisan publishing and renowned works of video art. Combining a book with a moving image proved effective. The project’s success is due to the fact that the D’ORO Collection atelier continues the tradition of artisanal skills that date back to medieval bookmaking. Salvatore Giorgio Dino connected the tradition of fine art book publishing with contemporary masterpieces of video art, a field that unites art and technology. With its fifty-year history, video art is celebrated as an audiovisual, time-based category that gives artists the opportunity to articulate ideas of great relevance today. Salvatore Giorgio Dino envisioned an effective merger: the materiality of a D’ORO book, which provides a sense of physicality through its specially designed pages and cover; and the virtuality of the technologically derived “moving” video image. Bringing these two forms together required insight and conviction that the outcome would be successful.
D’ORO / D’ART developed a prototype for the hybrid object, which is a book, a sculpture, and a video artwork all in one. The unique configuration was carefully planned, and every detail was considered. The book and the video components form one unified object. The latest and best software and hardware were selected and configured for durability and longevity. This included the LCD screen and the unique playback system. The video-sound file cannot be removed or changed.
Once the prototype proved the project’s robust durability, D’ORO / D’ART went ahead and selected the curatorial team, Valentino Catricalà and Barbara London, who were invited to launch the project. Together the curators chose the work of an important pioneer of video art, Dara Birnbaum. Their choice proved that the project is seriously committed to video art’s dynamic history, and to the hybridity of contemporary art practice.
Born 1946, Dara Birnbaum is a New York-based artist who is celebrated for her groundbreaking strategies, for her mastery of the video installation, and for using manipulated television footage. For her book commissioned by D’ORO / D’ART, Birnbaum took on the challenge of specially transforming her three-channel video, Arabesque from 2011, to a single-channel video for the book. In the video, sound and image are integrated, and together retrace the love and artistic relationship of Robert and Clara Schumann. Birnbaum brought together selections from films of performances of Robert Schumann’s Arabesque Opus 18 and from films of Clara Schumann’s Romanze 1, Opus 11. Birnbaum juxtaposed these clips with still images made from footage of the 1947 film about the Schumanns, Song of Love, which tellingly features only Robert Schumann's Arabesque Opus 18. Birnbaum’s Arabesque delicately reflects on the troubled love relationship of Robert and Clara Schumann, a love relationship closely linked to music, as they are both pianists.
The elegance of Birnbaum’s video fits perfectly with the sophisticated structure of the D’ORO Collection book project. D’ORO together with the Marian Goodman Gallery celebrates this magnificent new endeavor, with the launch of Dara Birnbaum’s Arabesque at Art Basel Miami, 2021.