Two of Canada’s most famous visual artists take on the book medium in their own hilarious way
Library is a collection of paintings by two of Canada’s most influential contemporary artists, Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber. From the simple premise of the book title comes a series of images that are laugh-out-loud funny. A collection of book covers adorned with titles painted in simple handwritten fonts are displayed on brightly colored hardboard. Each book forms part of an ongoing series Dumontier and Farber started in 2009.
In Dumontier and Farber’s Library, titles like I Lost the Human Race, Change Your Relationship to Your Unchangeable Past, and I Have a Medical Condition That Makes It So I Don’t Have to Talk to You offer surprising and astute observations, all in the duo’s characteristic deadpan style. The simplicity of the shapes and text evokes an immediate but lasting profundity, with each piece causing one to wonder about the thoughts that roam their consciousness, and the books that take up residence on their—and our—shelves.
Dumontier and Farber are founding members of the influential art collective the Royal Art Lodge, and have been collaborating on art projects for more than fifteen years, exhibiting internationally. Library is playful and insightful as it pokes and prods at the human condition.
“Not to be missed!”—Michael Ondaatje, The New York Times Book Review
“Two of the funniest, smartest guys in Winnipeg… The way they cook a punchline into its most economical, high-impact form is a triumph of restrictive poetry.”—Canadian Art
"It’s all right to judge every book cover as a story in this wryly humorous and deadpan series of imaginary book paintings."—The Globe and Mail
“Absurd, hilarious, twee, and poignant.”—Blouin ArtInfo
"Library consists of hundreds of paintings of book covers with invented titles that showcase the artists’ classic deadpan style, resulting in works that are simultaneously thoughtful and entertaining. These paintings... are bold, minimalistic and colourful."—The Manitoban
"Imagine an unadorned cover, part of a series, the books all lined up in a row, each bearing a title wittier and more deadpan than the last. Imagine a room surrounded by hundreds of these books and think about the impression you would have of the homeowners. What you get is an idea of what Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber are probably like if you were to meet them for a drink."—Broken Frontier
"Library by Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber presents a whole reading room's worth of fictional titles that delight and intrigue... [Dumontier and Farber] frequently juxtapose images with text, giving both the visceral emotion of a raw visual, such as a flower, and further meaning in abstract words. This combination fluorishes in Library, where every page shows books that the reader will wish were real."—BlogCritics
"In Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber's Library, readers will discover brilliant new works of made-up literature, such as Don't Talk To Me For Too Long, You'll Fall In Love and I Liked Me, But Then I Did What I Did. The Winnipeg artists have been painting imagined books, with inscrutably funny, existential titles, as part of a series that's been on-going since 2009."—CBC Books
"These paintings are truly enjoyable, and thankfully, only sort of profound."—Galleries West Magazine
"Readers will be tempted to keep it nearby, as every look at the book offers some new discovery. You’ll be wishing many of the books actually existed."—Winnipeg Free Press