Elena Presser

Elena Presser

Born 1940

Artist Details

Birth Place
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Artists’ Books; Calligraphy; Collage; Mixed media constructions
Places of Residence
Buenos Aires, Argentina; Miami, Florida; Tomales, California; Philadelphia
Florida International University, Miami, Florida, 1978, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, 1976, Miami-Dade Community College, Miami, Florida, 1975, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1962
Retrospective Exhibitions

Elena Presser: Transpositions, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, 1988; Elena Presser: Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Frances Wolfson Art Gallery, Miami 1985

NMWA Exhibitions

Bound to Amaze: Inside a Book-Collecting Career, 2018
25 x 25: Artists’ Books from the NMWA Collection, 2012
Hard Copy: Book as Sculpture, 2009–10
The Book as Art: Twenty Years of Artists’ Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2006–07
Book as Art XIII: Artists’ Books about Artists, 2001
Book as Art XII: Artists’ Books from the Permanent Collection, 2000
Book as Art VIII, 1996

About the Artist

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, book artist Elena Presser moved with her family to the U.S. in 1966; she has become known for creating visual interpretations of music.

After settling in Miami, Presser continued her studies at the University of Miami, and then at Florida International University, where she received an Outstanding Achievement in Art Award in 1978. 

Presser's work often interprets music, her subject in Unfinished Symphony. “I perceive music as the most abstract form of art. The notes in the musical score are notations of symbols, abstractions of a sound. When this notation becomes audible by the interpretation of a performer, it becomes music. The music exists while it is performed, only to disappear again into silence.

“The passage of music in time evokes in me, as a listener, emotions, colors, and images. This level of comprehension is of spontaneity. A second level is of recognition and recollection of information about the music; a rational and intellectual approach. The interaction of both levels creates in my work the spontaneity of a calligraphy that expresses or freezes a flow of music in space and time. It brings a mood in the form of color, it allows me to follow a process of reasoning and discover symbols, shapes, numbers, letters, and textures that relate to the music I am using.”

National Museum of Women in the Arts