shelf documents
art library as practice

edited by Heide Hinrichs, Jo-ey Tang, and Elizabeth Haines, with drawings by Heide Hinrichs

Published by b-books, 2021
ISBN 9783942214384

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How can a library change the world? How can an art library change the art school or the gallery? Or even an art practice? In shelf documents, artists, writers, curators, teachers, and librarians reflect on how they can use the beloved library as a source of inspiration or a field of action.

In thinking about diversity in collections, the publication proposes art libraries as sites of intersubjective communion. shelf documents is rooted in a collaborative book acquisition project, initiated by the artist Heide Hinrichs at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, in which her group integrated over 200 new titles in art libraries as a way to fill gaps, to amplify voices, and seek out the self-initiated or the overlooked.

Heide Hinrichs, Elizabeth Haines, and Jo-ey Tang speak to Pierre d’Alancaisez about working with institutions, working slowly, and working together to interfere with the permanence of libraries.

Heide Hinrichs is an artist who works with found and existing materials. For the first Kathmandu Triennale, she developed the project On Some of the Birds of Nepal. In 2018, she published Silent Sisters/Stille Schwestern, an unauthorised German translation of Theresa Hak Kyng Cha’s novel Dictee.

Elizabeth Haines is a historian and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Bristol. Her interdisciplinary interest in the materiality of knowledge productions draws on her education in fine arts.

Jo-ey Tang is an artist, curator, and writer. He was previously the director of exhibitions at the Beeler Galery at Columbus College of Art & Design and is currently the director of Kadist, San Francisco.

The list of books involved in the project is available at