Year: 2008

Artist: Julien Nédélec (*1982)

Author: Julien Nédélec (*1982) 

Publisher: Zédélé éditions, Brest

Two copies of Julien Nédélec, Feuilleté (2013)

Julien Nédélec has been described as an ‘artconceptualtelegooglefluxusfootjunkfood’-school exponent. His visual art is invariably based on words or books.

‘Blocs’, a sculptural piece dating from 2015, for instance, consists of 213 blocks of wood, the upper sides of which are partly daubed in black ink; they had previously been used as printing blocks. The impressions (on paper) create the second part of the sculpture. The black squares correspond exactly with the blocks of text reproduced on the pages of La forme d’une ville (1985), a novel by Julien Gracq about Nantes, the place where Nédélec lives and works and where he completed his studies at the École Régionale des Beaux-Arts. The work of Nédélec (Rennes, 1982) may be placed somewhere between that of Raymond Hains (because of how he manipulates language), l’Oulipo (in conjunction with the tendency to work in series and the inclination to approach language in a mathematical way) and Claude Closky (for his creative stance and attention to contrasting aspects). His artists’ books have been appearing since 2008.


Feuilleté, a pocketbook with 16 blank pages, appeared in June 2008. It was offset, printed by Compagnons du Sagittaire in Rennes, bound and stapled (500 copies). The new revised reprint, comprising 48 pages, came out in June 2013 in the same format but was printed instead by Commerce in Quimper, sewn and bound (700 copies). Both editions were published by Zédélé éditions. It was only the book’s cover that was actually printed. The author then proceeded to dip his fingers in ink and leaf through (in French: ‘feuilleter’) all the pages leaving a trail of fingerprints behind. When one compares any two copies one discovers that each is in fact unique. The fingerprints on the cover are larger and blacker than the differently shaped smears on the inside pages. The colophon on the back cover states, as though this were a normal technical procedure, that the ‘soiling’ ('maculer') was carried out in Nantes. Leafing through, the English ‘translation’ also appeared in 2013.

Leafing through

Feuilleté, where there is nothing to actually read, does devote attention to the most universal activity of all readers, that of page turning. Since the nineteen-sixties such reflections on the book as an object in itself or as a medium have been a popular genre in artists’ books. It was the handmade touch that transformed the volumes of this offset book into 700 one-of-a-kind objects. The uniqueness of each copy represents the unrepeatable nature of the procedure, the unrepeatable aspect of leafing through and, ultimately, the unrepeatable nature of the reading experience. Even if we wanted to we can never precisely replicate a previous reading – anybody who rereads the books of his youth knows this.

Bibliographical description

Description 1: Feuilleté / Julien Nédélec. - [Première édition]. - Brest : Zédélé éditions, 2008. - 16 pagina's ; 19 cm

Printer: Compagnons du Sagittaire (Rennes)

Edition: 500 copies

This copy: With manuscript note by the artist

Shelfmark: KW KOOPM A10276

Description 2: Feuilleté / Julien Nédélec. - [Nouvelle édition]. - Brest : Zédélé éditions, 2013. - 48 pagina's ; 19 cm

Printer: Imprimerie du Commerce (Quimper)

Edition: 700 copies

This copy: Two different copies are present

Shelfmark: KW KOOPM A10130 - A10131


  • Paul van Capelleveen, 'Julien Nédélec', in: Paul van Capelleveen, Artists & others. The imaginative French book in the 21st century. Koopman Collection, National Library of the Netherlands. Nijmegen, Vantilt Publishers, 2016, p. 200-201
  • Jérôme Dupeyrat, ‘Julien Nédélec, Pris au dépourvu’, [online: ‘Zédéle Éditions’, website].
  • Antoine Marchant, ‘Julien Nédélec, le tour de la question’, [online: ‘02’, website].
  • Zédéle Éditions [website]
  • Julien Nédélec [website]