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Project Statement

by J. Drucker

Few book artists have dealt with the peculiar and specific relationship of space and time as subtly or as cleverly as Jan Voss in this little conceptually focused piece. Space and time, those two givens, both so much the object of philosophical inquiry, a priori containers or constituted fields of relativity? The subject experience of either pushes the literal, mechanistic notion of time as a given or space as static entity to a limit. We know how long a wait can be at a bus stop, and how patience wanes and the horizon of expectation stretches us to intolerable limits. But literalizing this experience of time within the structured space of a book makes the metaphorical relation of time/space into a real physical and tangible object. Voss allows as many pages to be inserted between the waiting passenger and the arrival of the bus as the reader/viewer would like. One may interpret the waiting according to one's own disposition and mood -- as an opportunity for meditation and relaxation, or as a torturous extension of delay, or in any other manner. But the conceptual conceit of the book brings home an important point about temporality, and the time-based nature of book space. Few other works do this so succinctly or pointedly, or with such a light touch.


Jan Voss

title note: []


Jan Voss

type: initiating


Publication Information

publisher: Eigendruck im Selbstuerlag

publication: 1984-00-00

publication history: Published in Amsterdam, 1984. [E. Rettberg]

Aesthetic Profile


artists' books (LCSH)
travel literature (AAT)

themes: waiting, arriving, departing [E. Rettberg]

content form:
picture book (AAT)
visual narrative (local)

publication tradition:
minimal (local)

Exhibition Information

exhibition history: unknown

reception history: Johanna Drucker uses _Wartelist_ as an exemplar for the importance of sequence in Artists' Books in her _The Century of Artists' Books_: "When you purchase Wartelist you can purchase as many interior sheets as you like—thus shortening or extending the wait the person at the bus stop has. The additional sheets are all sections of road and landscape so that the book's length becomes an experience of waiting. One turns through page after page of empty road where sequence is both duration and distance. _Wartelist_ calls attention to sequence as a fundamental feature of artists' books.

General Comments