selbstprtrait kleiner
self portrait 2010

(A short CV/list of exhibitions can be found here, and an artist statement here.)

Hilke Kurzke is a mostly self-taught book artist, writer, printmaker and book binder.

She was born in 1976 in Germany, Lower Saxony, and only realised after studies to become a mathematician and RU teacher that her true vocation is with books.

After having been granted a Phd in mathematics in 2007, having just moved from Berlin to Bonn, still looking for a job, she decided to bind the presentation copies of her thesis by hand. A transforming experience. – And in November 2008 she founded Büchertiger, – and has been self-employed ever since.

frozen, artist book by Hilke Kurzke
self portraits, artwork 2012

Binding mostly blank journals, her interest in historic binding techniques sparked a curiosity and play with book forms. Tauchgang I and II were her first pieces of book art, made in 2008, before she had learned that there was such a thing. She called them books with holes because holes in the pages allowed the reader to dive into the book, into a underwater cavern by turning the pages. Discovering an online community of book artists, learning about that there was such a thing as book art that was more than book illustration and fine bindings, opened doors to completely new rooms.

Nightlion – First Lino Print

As her interest and ambition in the book arts grew, so did her interest in and love for printmaking. In 2008 she also cut lino for the first time ever.

Acquiring coloured linen thread to use in her bindings was surprisingly hard, and so in 2012 Büchertiger officially split up into Büchertiger Studio & Press and Büchertiger Supplies, as she started to branch out into selling linen thread herself.

346. A Journey While Staying As Still As Possible, by H. Kurzke
346. A Journey While Staying As Still As Possible, by H. Kurzke.

Other personal milestones were the birth of her twins in 2011 and the move to England in 2013. Both left their mark in her artwork. Pregnancy and motherhood made the cultural demands and disappropriation of femals bodies very obvious and resulted in an increased interest in feminist topics.

With Child – made using three different printmaking techniques: lino, aluminium lithography, and monoprint

The thriving supplies business took more of her time than before, but also gave her the freedom to delevop artistic visions. In the time since then she spend time and effort to develop and learn printmaking techniques. In an attempt to increase the intimacy between the author and the reader of a book, she started investigating simple materials that are widely available, resulting in printing with carboard and aluminium foil.

flight, artwork H. Kurzke 2019
Flight. Paper Mache and Found Objects

The first years in England she worked from a tiny attic space which resulted in miniature work. 346. A Journey While Staying As Still As Possible is a sublimation of all these years with big and tiny side by side.

Since then she has moved on to work with paper mache on larger sculptures.