Gabi Restrepo

Elements+Senses / November 2019

Book cover

The basis of this book was to encapsulate my experience of my first visit and impression of a place. The Pulitzer Arts Foundation is a staple of the St. Louis art scene, housing a collection of rotating pieces from contemporary artists.

When first visiting the Pulitzer, I was shocked by how silent it was. It was a very intimate experience with the many museum docents, because I was one of the only visitors at the time of my visit. As I walked around I was thrown off by the military bunker-esque architecture contrasting with the intimate contemporary art on display. As I became more and more disoriented by narrow hallways, I also began to focus on the sounds I was hearing. The rain hitting the windows, my own loud footsteps on the wood floors, the sound of a the only other visitors in the gallery speaking very loudly, and the quiet melodic music from an art project. The outside weather/light had a big impact on the inside atmosphere, thus putting an important on natural elements to the space.

View from the Pullitzer in St.Louis

When I began to think of my sense that were heightened in this space I narrowed it down to sight, touch and sound because of previously mentioned reasons. The ways I chose to represent these feelings were through abstract images and shapes that mimicked the spaces look and feel. For the elements I concentrated on light, water, and earth. For this I looked towards the architecture and how these elements are highlighted by it- from the giant windows, the long reflection pool, and the giant rock in the courtyard. All of these elements came together to define my experience when I first visited the space.

book mockups

While refining the book I had to test a lot of different binds to figure out how the folding out pages would work. Eventually I engineered my own binding method with each page folding out to reveal new information. To bind the pages together I used screw and posts, which also mimicked the architecture of the Pulitzer, specifically the circular holes on the outside concrete walls. I also tested several paper colors, testing different type colors with the paper, I decided to go for a brown so it wouldn’t be too harsh of a contrast.

Final book