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Join us on Tuesday at the KZNSA for the opening of Cheryl Penn's An Encyclopedia of Everything and Other Matters in the Park Contemporary Gallery. Since concluding her Masters Degree in 2010 and the accompanying exhibition, 'The Reading Room', Cheryl has continued to investigate the artists’ book as an art medium. The schizoid nature of these works: textual/verbal, visual/pictorial and public/private has meant that this form of art can flaunt such a complex multiplicity of forms that “the book will never be done”. We live in Technology Times, where prognosticators continually predict the death of the book, but exhibitions such as this prove that “everything in the world exists in order to end up in a book” - Stephané Mallarmé  (1876). The exhibition displays her current work in progress - the international collection, collaboration and display of over 385 small bookworks explicitly assembled for this installation. Other book collaborations and artists books will also be on show.

The exhibition will be opened by Tony Starkey. 

See you there!


There is a reason for making byte size books of the 'vade mecum' sort. It’s the result of too many ideas in constant disarray, endlessly knocking and needing to be given form. Form? Ideas persuading the metaphysical dimension to open up and fold itself into the pages of a book. Encyclopedias have been around for about 2000 years – still in existence is Naturalis Historia written around AD77 by Pliny the elder.

Encyclopedias are tomes of articles and subjects on any and every topic of accumulated, verifiable knowledge.  They differ to dictionaries in that a linguistic, alphabetical listing of words is limiting. This form of classification may leave the meaning-seeker lacking in contextualized understanding and association. 

But this encyclopedia is different.

Here, when a volume discusses printing, one can run fingers down the impressions left by the printing press, and touch the unevenness of ink. Or, a book on artists stamps has samples of these intimate artworks, gathered from around the world.   Therefore, the curious thing with this particular collection is the way information is presented, the change information has undergone in the hands of an artist.   It presents in real time, an original artifact; how artists and writers interpret and intimately engage with facts – a demonstration of how artists think and decode subject matter in their own unique ways. And, this installation continually proves to be an area ripe for artistic collaboration. This is also a body of work made through world-wide collective adventure.

There is renewed interest in the notebooks and drawn or written thoughts and jottings of remarkable men and women. Simple things, like shopping lists, and personal observations, writing down pertinent quotes and  ‘things   to do’, have helped those interested to piece together the daily grind of lives lived so long ago. Imagine owning/knowing Aristotle’s shopping list - well, I’m curious.

An Encyclopedia of Everything was once just such an idea, but now this simple idea is manifest in nearly 400 books. I could not have done it without the constant engagement of the artists listed, so my appreciation of their contribution is unbounded and here acknowledged.  

Cheryl Penn                                                                         


Reed Altemus (USA)
Jac Balmer (UK)
Tiziana Baracchi (Italy)
Vittore Baroni (Italy)
Allan Bealy (USA) (Collaboration)
Angela Behrendt (Germany)
C. Mehrl Bennett (USA)
John Bennett (USA)
Jessica Bothma (South Africa)
Judy Bourke (Australia)
Kathy Boyle (New Zealand)
Vizma Bruns (Australia)
Joel Chace (USA) (Collaboration)
Sally Chinea (UK)
Marian Crane (USA)
Pal Csaba (Hungary)
David Dellafiora (Australia)
Theresa Easton (UK)
Ken Ford (Australia)
Robyn Foster (Australia)
Carina Granlund (Finland)
Rob Grant (Australia)
Rosa Gravino (Argentina)
Karen Greenwood (South Africa)
Uli Grohmann (Germany)
Wolfgang Guenther (Germany) (Collaboration)
Rebecca Guyver (UK)
Sue Hobbs (South Africa)
Estelle Hudson (South Africa)
Laura Hudson (New Zealand)
Lisa Iverson (USA)
Eberhard Janke (Germany)
Bifidus Jones (USA)
Satu Kaikkonen (Finland)
Hilke Kurzke (UK)
Susanna Lakner (Germany)
Robin Lamplough (South Africa
Alexander Limarev  (Russia)
Lesley Magwood-Fraser (South Africa)
Yves Maraux  (France)
Dean Marks (France)
Catherine Mc Cue  Boes(Australia)
Kathleen Nartuhi  (USA)
Not Hi Ng (USA)
Jürgen Olbrich (Germany)
Jack Oudyn (Australia)
Cheryl Penn (South Africa)
Walter Pennacchi (Italy)
Marcela Peral (Argentina)
Martine Rastello (France)
Bernd Reichert (Belgium)
Kensa Rescorla (UK)
Colleen Ross (South Africa)
Chris Ruston (UK)
Ruth Shaw-Williams (UK)
Gwen Simpson (UK)
Christopher Skinner (UK)
Mark Sonnenfeld (USA)
Alicia Starr (USA)
Karl Steurer (Switzerland)
Matthew Stolte (USA)
David Stone (USA)
Rod Summers (Netherlands)
Erich Sunnderman  (Austria)
TICTAC (Ptrzia) (Germany)
Cauli Torma (Budapest, Hungary)
Stephanie Turnbull  (UK)
Lubomyr Tymkiv  (Ukraine)
Anete Ulmane (Latvia)
Guido Vermeulen (Belgium)
Petru Viljoen (South Africa)
Klaus von Mirbach (Germany)
Svenja Wahl (Germany)
Nadine Wendell Mojica  (USA)
Marie Wintzer (Japan)
Jesvin Yeo (Singapore)

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