Opening a book, like those shown this weekend at two Berlin artist book fairs, Miss Read at KW and Unter dem Motto at Chert Gallery, can be one of the more visceral ways available today to access an artist’s process.
In the context of the Information Age, this medium that defined the Age of Mechanical Reproduction and its alienation has now come to carry the aura of the original work of art. Limited edition artist books invite the viewer to interact, to touch and feel, to engage in a narrative, to contemplate and linger in a place between time, word and image.
At Unter dem Motto, tables laden with ‘zines, posters and glossy tomes are scattered through the Kreuzberg courtyard shared by Chert Gallery and Motto bookstore. Accompanying the publications are their producers and advocates.
Some hightlights: Flood, a small book with poster produced in honor of Unter dem Motto by Japanese illustrator Noritake, makes the flipping of pages through simply rendered “water” a bit like swimming. A book by Paraguay Press entitled “Steal this Book / Robe este libro” by Spanish artist Dora García anticipates in its first lines the dilemma the reader has in, indeed, whether or not to steal the book. The exhilaration of a possible conspiracy between reader and author right there in the exhibition space is enough to get some minor adrenaline pumping even though it looks like we’re only reading.
Publisher of Vancouver journal Fillip Jeff Khonsary is showing a “fake” newspaper entitled “Traducing Ruddle”. It is a project, he said, of Dutch artist Mark Manders, who was attempting in various editions to use every word in the English language. What is at closer examination disorienting loggorhea is benign enough from afar in the trusty guise of a newspaper.
Khonsary will speak at KW on Saturday the 4th at 5pm about the idea of free content and alternative distribution strategies, like for example, making such publications like Manders’ available in newspaper boxes. Other lectures, performances and screenings will take place throughout the weekend.
For more details see the following:
(Images: UDM Poster; KW Miss Read. Courtesy of Chert & KW)