Johannesburg: Artist Proof Studio, 1997
National Museum of African Art, 98-1-1
Emandulo Re-Creation is an artists’ book collaboration initiated by Robbin Ami Silverberg and Kim Berman at Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg, South Africa, in March 1997.
Twenty-two artists came together for one intensive meeting to produce a book that expressed their personal views of the creation myth. As Silverberg explains, “The theme chosen was the creation myth (Emandulo means in Zulu ‘in the beginning’) as it seemed that a country with so many peoples would have a fascinating range of creation mythology. How life began and the mythologies adhered to about the human life cycle are essential components to understanding the role of women in a society.”
The Exquisite Corpse
On papers of identical size, each artist printed a male figure on one half of the paper and a female figure on the other (with one exception showing two males).
The assembled prints were then cut in half vertically, separating the male and female figures. Then the prints were further cut horizontally into three parts to accommodate the human body: (1) the head and neck, (2) the torso with genitalia, and (3) the legs. These pages were then assembled as an "exquisite corpse," where body sections produced by different artists are assembled to form different configurations. The prints illustrated the artists’ different approaches to the chosen theme and their unique drawing styles.
A variety of techniques were employed: lithography, etching, drypoint on copper, relief print, collograph, linocut, woodcut, chine collé photocopy, and mixed media.
Special binding and handmade paper by Robbin Ami Silverberg are used for numbers 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, and 22. The whole work is enclosed in a hand-made blue case with linocut covers by Rebecca Magill.
Participating artists are: Pepe Abela, Deborah Bell, Kim Berman, András Böröcz, Keith Dietrich, Gordon Gabashane, Carol Hofmeyr, Basil Jones, William Kentridge, David Koloane, Atta Kwami, Moleleki Frank Ledimo, Simon Mthimkhulu, Sam Nhlengethwa, John Roome, Ruth Sack, Mmakgabo Mmapula Sebidi, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Simon Stone, Grace Tshikhuve, Diane Victor, Nhlanhla Xaba. All are South African except for Böröcz (Hungary), Kwami (Ghana), and Silverberg (USA).
About the Printmakers
Robbin Ami Silverberg (born 1958), an American, and Kim Berman (born 1961), a South African, are established printmakers and book artists. Silverberg is founding director of Dobbin Mill, a hand-papermaking studio, and Dobbin Books, a collaborative artist book studio in Brooklyn, New York. Her artwork is divided between artist books and large paper installations and between collaborative projects and her own art. Silverberg studied art at Princeton University, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Werkstatt für Buchgestaltung in Vienna, Austria. She is self-taught in papermaking.
Berman is the director of the Artist Proof Studio in Newtown, Johannesburg. She obtained her B.A. in fine arts from the University of Witwatersrand and an MA in fine arts from Tufts University, in Boston. After teaching in Boston, Berman returned to South Africa to conduct collaborative printmaking projects. She now directs the Artists Proof Studio and teaches at the University of Johannesburg.
Golden, Alisa. “Exquisite Corpse Book.” In Unique Handmade Books, pages 94-96. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2001.
Robbin Silverberg. “Emandulo Re-Creation.” www.robbinamisilverberg.com/artwork/collaborations/emandulo-re-creation.
 Robbin Silverberg website: robbinamisilverberg.com/artwork/collaborations/emandulo-re-creation/
 “Exquisite corpse” derives from the French cadavre exquis. It emerged as a Surrealist frivolity whereby each participant added something to the visual sequence of the human body creating a variety of permutations of heads, torsos and legs.
 To see exactly how the pages of Emandulu Re-Creation are constructed and assembled, see Alisa Golden, “Exquisite Corpse Book,” in Unique Handmade Books (New York: Sterling Publishing, 2001), pages 94-96.