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Koudelka as book artist

Books are not only an important way of circulating his photographs, but also an essential means of artistic expression for Josef Koudelka. Over the decades, learning from Milan Kopřiva in 1968, and later from Robert Delpire, he has become more and more involved in the processes of their conception, design, and production. With more than 35 monographs and artist’s books as of this time, as well as over 20 exhibition catalogues, he can therefore truly be considered as a book artist. 

Another unique aspect to note is that Koudelka has republished bodies of work like Gypsies and Exiles in various editions in order to explore alternative edits and materialization possibilities. His publication projects have covered everything from very precious artist books produced in highly limited print runs, up to large-scale print runs of a project published in 12 separate language editions, such as the Invasion 68: Prague book.

Within this selection of Koudelka’s titles in the collection of the Photography Library at Instituto Moreira Salles, one can explore the materialization of a book with regard to its dimensions, weight, binding, and the choice of papers, in addition to other aspects that define a book as a three-dimensional object. 

The final choice is often the result of decision processes that take place over extended periods of time and multiple versions of a book dummy design. And finally, once the book is on its way to the press, there remain the processes of validating proofs and commenting on the print quality on site alongside the printing machine. The result in the ideal scenario is a satisfied artist and a content publisher.


São Paulo, Brasil
Koudelka como artista do livro
IMS Paulista
May 18 to August 11, 2024

Books by Josef Kouldelka on display

  1. Camargue. Arles: Actes Sud, 2006.

2. Exiles. Ensaio de Czeslaw Milosz. Nova York: Aperture, 1988.

3. Exils: photographies. Texto de Danièle Sallenave, Robert Delpire. Paris: Centre National de la Photographie, 1988.

4. Gypsies. Nova York: Aperture, 1975.

5. Gypsies. Nova York: Aperture, 2011.

6. Gypsies. Nova York: Aperture, 2019.

7. Invasion 68: Prague. Nova York: Aperture, 2008.

8. L’épreuve totalitaire. Texto de Jean-Pierre Montier. Paris: Delpire, 2004.

9. Piedmont. Londres: Thames & Hudson, 2009.

10. Wall: Israeli & Palestinian landscape, 2008-2012. Texto de Ray Dolphin. Nova York: Aperture, 2013.

11. The Making of Exiles. Textos de Clément Chéroux e Michel Frizot Paris: Éditions Xavier Barral, 2017.

12. Ikonar: Archival Constellations. Org. Jonathan Roquemore, ensaio de Stuart Alexander. Lausanne/Leipzig: Photo Elysée/Spector Books, 2022.