Artists as Independent Publishers
Exhibition in the Centre for Artists‘ publications
For the second time, the Centre for Artists’ Publications is hosting Artists as Independent Publishers – a cooperation of international universities, this time presenting current artists’ books by students from Antwerp, Bremen, Halle, London, Vienna and Tokyo. As an interdisciplinary teaching event and exhibition cycle, Artists as Independent Publishers aims to actively take up, explore and help shape trends and possibilities in contemporary art.
The theme of “artists’ books” and “publishing as artistic practice” was worked on individually at the different universities in parallel. The exhibition shows over 100 works created from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020. The HfK Bremen, for example, organised a two-week workshop for this in November 2019 that was open to students of arts, design and digital media. The participants created artists‘ books with freely chosen print media and content. The focus was on explorations of different types of artists’ books as a contemporary means of expression for artists and designers. The artist’s book was reflected upon as a means for critical questioning, as a platform for communication between different artistic approaches and as an autonomous form of artistic expression. In addition to the production of artists’ books, the project also asks in what forms, with what means and for what reasons artists publish today.
Accordingly, the exhibition brings together a wide range of book formats: including the Quadropoden Forschungshandbuch by Lui Kohlmann, Zersetzung, a contribution to the cycle of life by Jana Thiel, the textbook Pferde by Armin Wischkony, the unfoldable drawing series Mystic Truth / Cosby Show by Alice Gericke, the temporary pillow book Weiße Nacht by Rui Diao and Toilet paper, an interplay of drawing, text and texture by Bolin Chen. The publications also include language games, drawing books, material explorations, visual experiments with printing presses, content collages, archives, graphic novels, pop-ups, leporellos, unfoldable posters and narratives made of free text and image sequences.
The technical spectrum of the contributions ranges from traditional printing processes, such as letterpress, hand offset, screen printing, etching and risography, to current digital technologies. Some was done by hand, some was commissioned. Some books are expansive, object-like and temporary or refuse to be viewed linearly. What they all have in common is to exploit the book form as a space for contemporary artistic expression.
Artists as Independent Publishers was initiated by the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen, where it was supervised and organised by Stephan Baumkötter, Marion Bösen, Katrin von Maltzahn and Tania Prill. Other participating art schools are Geidai in Tokyo, the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the Royal College London, St Lucas School of Arts Antwerp and Burg Giebichenstein in Halle.
Due to the corona-related lockdown, Artists as Independent Publishers at the Weserburg is published exclusively through digital channels. Postings on Instagram and Facebook, as well as a podcast in the Weserburg series Talking Heads, provide diverse insights beyond an analogue art experience.
After the presentation at the Zentrum für Künstlerpublikationen, the exhibition will travel to the Frans Masereel Centrum in Belgium in autumn 2021.