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Ceci n'est pas une voiture… C'est un art de vivre
(ou livre?)
Why I made a book out of Citroën 2cv doors


When I first became aware of artist's books, a wealth of possibilities opened up. My mind was flooded with ideas – all the different materials, media, techniques and structures that could form a book, as well as the ideas that could fill them.


One such fleeting thought was to make a book with Citroën 2cv doors for pages. The quirky Citroën 2cv has formed a major part of my life, shaped my travels to many countries, brought me many friends and a life partner too. Having older vehicles means you inevitably acquire a shed full of spares. Including doors.


In 2017, I organised the Hay Book Arts Trail in Hay-on-Wye. My time was fairly short for my own work as a result, but I was determined to produce something special. It then struck me that this was a perfect opportunity to turn a long-dormant fleeting idea into reality, and to be able to exhibit it in Hay Castle’s window too.


Ceci n’est pas une voiture… c’est un art de vivre (this isn’t a car… it’s a way of life) is a familiar bumper sticker in 2cv circles. It conjures up the free spirited nature of many of those who live with these cars. While I was creating the content, I transposed ‘vivre’ with ‘livre’ which seems appropriate – not a car but a piece of book art!


I didn’t want to do anything permanent to the doors themselves, so the binding is simply wound and tied rope. The removable inner door cards suggested the idea of creating a collage covering to provide content. The collages illustrate the history of the 2cv, and the 2cv lifestyle. The book-page bunting provides further content. These pages are taken from ‘An awfully big adventure’ by Beryl Bainbridge with further collaged wording evoking the adventures I’ve had with this car.


As an artist’s book, it fulfils the criteria of the book structure and materials reflecting its content.


Ellie Garraway

June 2017

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