Abstract Books

From the series „Abstract Books”, 2016
Baumpunkte / Tree Dots, From the series „Abstract Books”, 2016


Abstract Books is a series of photographs whose motifs are hard to categorize at first glance. Are they magnified areas of non-representational paintings? Or are they images of structures or processes that can only be seen through a microscope? When such questions arise in the viewer as a result of such autonomous compositions, it is proof of our lack of familiarity with these kinds of ornamental structures. Indeed, these photographs have been made from endpapers of books from the 18th and 19th centuries. A common element of books of this period, these pages are generally left unheeded by the users of the court library at the Bad Arolsen Palace. [Padgett, who began her research for her work exhibited in the Arolsen Palace in the court library, chose these encasements of literature of the age of enlightenment as a codified means of expression of that time.]

The images’ lavishness of form and color range from crystalline to effervescent or interlaced structures. In Padgett’s photographs they are pulled into our time, at the very least a reference to abstract modernist painting.“

— Ludwig Seyfarth

all images copyright © Laura J. Padgett 2016-2022