L'aspect des choses

Year: 2004

Author: Joël Leick (*1961)

Artist: Joël Leick (*1961)

Cover of L'aspect des choses

An appropriate term for some of Joël Leick's work would be 'livres à deux voix': books in two-part harmony. After all, artists' books are the result of two or more artists, authors, publishers or printers, each with their own separate contribution. Another term would be books 'à quatre mains' (as with piano pieces); the collaborative element is essential. But L'aspect des choses is a two-handed work, in which the text and illustrations were created by Leick himself. Besides, this selection from his diary is a unique manuscript, illustrated with original photographs, paintings and collages.


Leick enjoyed collaborating with authors such as Michel Butor (producing thirteen books with him alone between 1998 and 2004), Zéno Bianu and Salah Stétié. The production of such books is often used by the artist as an occasion for performances in which the pages are arranged like a long carpet on the floor of a museum (Nimes, Carré d'art, 2001, 7 metres long), or even on the street (Rue Antoine, Montmartre, Paris, 2003, 10 metres long). He paints those long reams of paper on the spot, sometimes lifting the paper up above his head in order to let the paint flow from one page onto another. Photo collages and gouaches are combined with hand-written or printed texts by the author, and are reproduced in limited editions. 'The multiple,' wrote Dominique Mazel, 'creates the unique.'

Solo works

The solo works sometimes also appear in printed editions: in 1996 the publisher Rouleau libre released a limited edition of Il y a des paysages, for which Leick created the text as well as the illustrations. In most cases, these solo works do not include any printed texts, but only handwritten notes, making them unique works. The diary L'aspect des choses belongs to the latter category. The texts were transcribed fragments from Leick's diary: observations, resolutions and sudden ideas. He ran black paint over the paper and glued photographs and photo collages into the book. Gaps were also cut into the paper in order to emphasise aspects of collages on subsequent pages: the texture of surfaces or paint, or isolated body parts like eyes or breasts. According to the poet Salah Stétié, Leick was most concerned with fragmentation, in which the human body sometimes strongly resembles phenomena from the world of plants and minerals.


Bibliographical description

Description: L'aspect des choses : extraits / [Manuscrit, avec des photographies et des textes, entièrement écrit et enluminé de la main de Joël Leick]. – [Paris : Leick], 2004. - [23] p. : ill. ; 35 cm

Note: Manuscript, with photos, illustrations and text by Joël Leick. Unique copy on Arches, signed by the artist

Bibliography: Bénézit 8-461

Shelfmark: KW Koopm K 408


  • Paul van Capelleveen, Sophie Ham, Jordy Joubij, Voices and visions. The Koopman Collection and the Art of the French Book. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands; Zwolle, Waanders, 2009
  • Paul van Capelleveen, Sophie Ham, Jordy Joubij, Voix et visions. La Collection Koopman et l'Art du Livre français. La Haye, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Bibliothèque nationale des Pays-Bas; Zwolle, Waanders, 2009
  • Paul van Capelleveen, 'Joël Leick', in: Artists & others. The imaginative French book in the 21st century. Koopman Collection, National Library of the Netherlands. Nijmegen, Vantilt Publishers, 2016, p. 176-179
  • Joël Leick: le vu, le peint, l'écrit: livres à 2 voix, livres d'artiste, polaroïds, œuvres sur papier. Aix-en-Provence, Cité du Livre, 2005