Lost Libraries Project   2017

In 2016 Abigail Reynolds became the third winner of the BMW Art Journey award, for a project titled ‘The Ruins of Time: Lost Libraries of the Silk Road.’ Abigail made a three-month long journey to sixteen sites of libraries along the Silk Road, lost to political conflicts, natural catastrophes, revolutions, and wars.

Given a deep connection to libraries and literature, the work of Abigail Reynolds frequently draws inspiration from literary essays and figures, to imagine places and moments from the past, present and future. Her project for the BMW Art Journey Award was conceived from this interest. It was designed to allow her to connect the complex religious and secular narratives of Europe and Asia through visits to historic or fabled repositories of books.

Reynolds’ journey was based on extensive research and took her to sites dating from 291 BC to 2011, including libraries along the whole length of the Silk Road – in China, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Egypt, Italy and Iran. Along the way, Reynolds gathered material on 16mm film, and by written text. A book documenting her travels will be published with Hatje Cantz later this year - thus completing a journey that both starts and ends with the institution of the library.

A selection of interviews and other documents related to ‘The Ruins of Time: Lost Libraries of the Silk Road’ have been printed in the publications listed below. Links to these will be uploaded to this website shortly. 


Elephant Magazine: 5 Questions with Abigail Reynolds by Robert Shore, June 2017, Download the PDF

CLIP Update: Abigail Reynolds in conversation with Rob Mackinlay in ‘Accessing the Lost Libraries of the Silk Road,’ May 4, 2017 (pp. 30 - 32) Download the PDF

Post Magazine, Abigail Reynolds in conversation with Sarah Lazarus in ‘Lost Libraries of the Silk Road,’ May 14, 2017 (pp. 16 – 19) Download the PDF

Art Basel Year 47, Abigail Reynolds in conversation with András Szántó in ‘Lost Libraries of the Silk Road,’ December 2016 (pp. 386 – 388) Download the PDF

Ocula: Abigail Reynolds in conversation with Sam Gaskin in ‘A Conversation with Abigail Reynolds,’ October 21, 2016 Download the PDF


Reports and Features

Financial Times: ‘Abigail Reynolds’ Silk Road Quest’ by Gareth Harris, March 17, 2017 Download the PDF

Prestige Hong Kong, Art Basel in Hong Kong, A Special Supplement 2017: ‘Paper Trail’ by Christopher Dewolf, March 2017 (pp.18- 21) Download the PDF

Artsy Editorial: 'Abigail Reynolds Travelled the World to Libraries that No Longer Exist' by Abigail Cain, March 20th 2017  Download the PDF

Madame Kunst: ‘Die Reise Ins Nichts’ by Cordula Funke, March 2017 (pp. 2 – 6) Download the PDF

Quality Magazin: ‘Auf der Suche nach dem verlorenen Buch’ by Alexandria Fels, November 2016 (pp. 113 – 123) Download the PDF