FRIDAY, 30.5.08

Books—but not as you know them
Meet the woman who publishes tomes made out of steel, blood and fireworks
Cristina Carrillo de Alborno | 17.4.08 | Issue 190

Anthony Caro, Open Secret, 2004

These are not the type of books you find in your local library—one of them explodes, one of them is made with the artist’s own blood and one stands more than two metres high. The woman behind these limited edition publications by Cai Guo-Qiang, Ed Ruscha and Anselm Kiefer respectively is Elena Ochoa, 46, wife of the leading British architect Norman Foster. This month a range of the works go on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. The exhibition is co-curated by Lady Foster of Thames Bank (her husband was awarded a life peerage in 1999) and Rowan Watson, senior curator at the museum’s National Art Library. An academic psychologist and an expert on Alzheimer’s disease, she founded Ivory Press publishing in 1996, the same year she married Lord Foster. Today the company publishes artists’ books in edition sizes ranging from three to 45 copies. They sell for around £50,000 each. “People always ask if they are books or works of art. An artist’s book is a work of art itself, it is the result of a process of creation and research, it conveys the understanding of the artist about a topic, materials, shapes and colours. As [Spanish sculptor] Eduardo Chillida told me, it is about exploring the space,” she says.

Lady Foster

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