Klimowski’s book On Illustration (62pp. with 12 illustrations, 5,000 copies) is part of the Oberon Masters, a new series of essays on the arts that includes A.C. Grayling’s ‘Against all gods’, Sir Peter Hall’s ‘Exposed by the mask’, Arnold Wesker’s ‘Wesker on theatre’ and Sir Christopher Frayling’s ‘On craftsmanship: Towards a new Bauhaus’. The book contributes to the substantially underdeveloped field of critical and reflective writing on Illustration, positioning the subject in relation to graphic design and painting, and combining philosophical matters with direct communication. The book has become a reference for illustration students and for a readership among the general public.
Kilmowski’s essays are based on a series of lectures delivered in 2009–10 for the ‘Brumen Foundation International Design Event’ at Narodna Galeria in Ljubljana (Slovenia, October 2009); the ‘Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival’ (Christ Church, Oxford, March 2010); the ‘5th Moscow International Open Book Festival’ (June 2010); and the Brno International Graphic Design Biennale International Symposium ‘Are Ideas Enough Today?’ (Czech Republic, 2010). The book arranges the essays according to the places in which the lectures were presented, examining relationships between critical and reflective approaches to writing and spatial experience, taking as a key reference Baudelaire’s seminal text The Painter of Modern Life (1863).
The book was reviewed in AnOther Magazine, ‘Culture talks/Andrzej Klimowski On Illustration’ (June 2011); Design Observer, Rick Poynor ‘Transmitting the image’ (July 2011); Imprint, Steven Heller ‘Expanding the design conversation, illustration without illustration’ (June 2011); and was featured in Creative Review, ‘Summer reading: On Illustration’ (August 2011) and a New Statesman Cultural Capital podcast (January 2012).