Art

WIELS Art Book Fair 2019

As late summer warmth whispers its last soulful goodbyes and crisp autumn air starts biting into our cheeks, we know it’s time to cosy up under our softest blankets and sink into the warm embrace of our most beloved books. The annual WIELS Art Book Fair welcomes the 2019 fall season with the most exquisite selection of independent art book publishers, showcasing a variety of zines, art catalogues, periodicals, artists’ books and other print publications, alongside performances, book signings and lectures for all the book lovers, collectors, artists and art professionals, forever roaming undiscovered cultural terrains. Dive into the creative oasis of literary and artistic delight with our selection of five independent publishers who have crafted their own unique lexicon for artistic expression within the limitless margins of print books.

Interviews by Silvija Daniunaite

 

Posture Editions

Photo shot by Pauline Colleu
Katrien Daemers x Nikolaas Demoen
posture-editions.com

We try to create a platform for art that is worth publishing; our publications are exhibitions in a book form

What’s the main philosophy of Posture Editions?
We try to create a platform for art that is worth publishing. We always work with one artist at a time, either someone at the start of their career or older artists who are now in the shadows. Simply put, we try to help the artist to either grow their career or give their career a renaissance. For us, publishing a book is always based on intuition, a feeling that there’s something in the work of an artist that will grow and become interesting. We always try to get into the head of the artist to find ways to breathe new life into their work, but we also want to make books that have an identity of their own, besides the artist’s own. We don’t have a dogma about art, so our publications can be very figurative, constructive or intellectual. We also collaborate with writers whom we ask to describe the artists. We think that individual authors can give context and add new layers to the artists’ work. The connection between texts and images can differ with each publication, though. Every book has a different input. From that input follows the logic of the book as well as its form and realization. Our publications are exhibitions in a book form.

What are you bringing to the WIELS Art Book Fair and how are such events important to your line of work?
Our last book, a river in a room by Lutgard De Meyer, is a very special publication. She’s an unknown Antwerp artist who’s 95 years old. She made ceramics and textiles back in the 70s and 80s. De Meyer was one of the two women – and twenty four men – who founded the G58 artist collective back in the 50s. One of those artists, Paul Van Hoeydonck, had his sculpture taken to the moon by the crew of Apollo 15. At the time, De Meyer didn’t have a chance to build a career, and so this book is particularly special. We will also exhibit Huis by Philippe Van Snick, who unfortunately passed away. It was a limited edition made especially for Posture to celebrate our 30th publication. We’ll show it as a tribute to Philippe and his family. But we’ll also bring some of our latest publications from Laura Van, Sanam Khatibi, Koba De Meutter and Carole Vanderlinden. As for book fairs in general, they offer a chance to meet other publishers and discover new artists. Book fairs are definitely worthwhile, but it’s also very hard to participate everywhere, because we do all the work ourselves. However, in the end, we’re always happy to have gone.

 

Surfaces Utiles & Good Surface

Photo shot by Aurélie Bayad
Olivier Bertrand
surfaces-utiles.org

We turn leftovers from industrial production into books instead of waste; these marginal spaces are my wilderness

What’s the main philosophy of Surfaces Utiles & Good Surface?
As a student, I didn’t have a lot of money but wanted to publish. With that mindset, I began introducing myself to print shops, asking about ways I could print for free. Thanks to my teachers, I made my first deal with a print shop in France, which offered me to print in the margins of regular documents, 1 cm x 90 cm long. Based on this format, I decided to publish a non-standard magazine about typography, called La Perruque. Then, with Chloé Bernhardt and Justin Bihan, we started Surfaces Utiles, a publishing house based on leftovers from industrial production. We turn these leftovers into books instead of waste. The economic model of Surfaces Utiles is inspired by the idea of the permaculture garden. The garden metaphor is all about sharing ideas, materials and services. We work as craftsmen, and something that characterizes craftsmanship is collaboration. These marginal spaces are my wilderness. I see that wilderness as a base for a whole economy of contribution. We collaborate with print shops, artists, designers, and together, we have to take care of this ecosystem. Good Surface, on the other hand, is a printing service. It’s more of a commercial project. Here, I work with Piero Bisello. We make available unused paper surfaces from print shop production to other people interested in taking advantage of these marginal surfaces.

What are you bringing to the WIELS Art Book Fair and how are such events important to your line of work?
WIELS is an amazing place for the arts. Two years ago, WIELS invited us to occupy a whole room during the book fair, giving us a chance to illustrate our practice in its entirety. Booksellers at WIELS have been our accomplices for a long time, and we’re very grateful. This year I published one of the most important books for Surfaces Utiles. It’s called Discours sur le déchet by Étienne Candel. It’s an essay about waste in the streets and how we can change our way of seeing the discarded, the obsolete and the residual. It is particularly important to me because for over two years I’ve been publishing on leftover paper myself. It’s not exactly the same, but it stands as a manifesto to Surfaces Utiles. We’ll also bring two books of Maxime Le Bon – What’s Left Over From the Works of Le Bon and Very Bad Drawings. I love his plastic work and his sarcastic tone; he says more about marginality and leftovers in only one drawing than I do with an entire speech. The last book is ARTGENT, a survey about how artists deal with money. This year, we’ll be selling books which contain clues about the bookmaking process. The books stand as objects which tell the story of how we made them.

 

Triangle Books

Photo shot by Elies Van Renterghem
Olivier Vandervliet
trianglebooks.com

Picking one book that’s most meaningful or important is like asking someone which child they prefer

What’s the main philosophy of Triangle Books?
I’m a book lover and I’m passionate about art too. In the past I worked as a graphic designer, but I stopped to launch Triangle Books. I have a lot of artist friends, so it just made sense to start working with them at the time. Triangle Books is both my work and my passion. I love working with artists, traveling to book fairs and, of course, making great books. Each book is unique. Picking one that’s the most meaningful or important is like asking someone which child they prefer. In the end, what I want is to be able to live off my passion and allow other people to discover the work of great artists.

What are you bringing to the WIELS Art Book Fair and how are such events important to your line of work?
This year, I’ll present two new books. The first is Ads by a French artist Pierre Leguillon. For years, he’s been collecting advertisements from magazines, which feature artists such as Andy Warhol, Dalí and others. Our book reproduces nearly his entire collection. The second one is Le Salon — Anthology 2011–2016. Le Salon was an online platform dedicated to the Belgian art world. For three years, there hasn’t been any new content on the website. It has even disappeared a couple of times, because the technology was getting a little outdated. Together with Devrim Bayar, who founded Le Salon, we selected content from the website and turned it into a printed archive. Books are a much better archive than the digital world. They’re more stable and will find their way into libraries and book shelves all over the world, for the art historians of the future. In general, book fairs are very important for independent publishers. They offer a great opportunity to do direct sales, and even if the sales are low it’s a way to publicise and advertise your projects. You also get a chance to meet your audience and get in touch with bookstores, book lovers and artists. It makes you feel a part of a larger community.

Animal Press

Photo shot by Pommelien Koolen
Jinhee Han x Baptiste Virot
animalpress.be

Sometimes you look for a book in a book shop, but you can’t find it because it doesn’t exist yet; we want to create that missing book

What’s the main philosophy of Animal Press?
We follow what we like personally and aesthetically in graphic design, illustration and comics. We love strong colors and patterns. If you simply use black, white or grey, there’s no challenge. Of course it’s good to have both sometimes, but we strive for a more fun and vibrant style. It almost feels like people don’t dare to use pure color. In our society, color is either attributed to really young age or to the elders, but there’s also fun in testing yourself. With Animal Press, we want to make beautiful books of great quality, to publish books we don’t see enough in the mainstream or don’t know enough about. Sometimes you look for a book in a library or a bookshop, but you can’t find it because it doesn’t exist yet. We want to create that missing book. We always have the hope that our art and our publications will somehow change the way people see things and books themselves.

What are you bringing to the WIELS Art Book Fair and how are such events important to your line of work?
Book fairs have become very important in the art community. First and foremost, they’re a big alternative to bookshops. At book fairs, you can sell directly and meet your public. They make up our main market. It’s almost like a ‘third person’ in our group. It’s also really important to see other people doing the same as you. In creative jobs you’re oftentimes alone, but when you’re at fairs everybody gathers and you get a chance to feel a part of a community. It offers a chance to share your ideas and publications. The first book we’re going to present this year is Brigade Cynophile by Félicité Landrivon. She’s a Lyon-based graphic designer, who used to make posters for underground concerts. This book is a collection of all the work she has done from 2014 to 2018. It’s the perfect example of us wanting to create a book which we thought was missing. We will also have a new version of Mardi by Baptiste Virot. It’s a book I made last year, but for this one we’ll include a translation too. And finally, we’re bringing another book of mine called Comedy. It’s colorful comics, without any dialogue.


pantingo

Photo shot by Valerie De Backer
Tessa De Ceuninck
pantingo.com

I absolutely love how printed materials open up ways of looking at things that you wouldn’t have considered before

What’s the main philosophy of pantingo?
As a publishing platform, pantingo wants to create unexpected connections. The name itself is a combination of two animals: a flamingo and a panther. By creating this new word, I give these animals a chance to be together, something that can’t happen in real life. I absolutely love printed materials, and how they open up ways of looking at things that you wouldn’t have considered before. I draw my inspiration from the interconnectedness of all things, from memories, movies, books and conversations with friends and my real-life heroes. Our books are a tribute to all those things we love, surprising, timeless and fun for the reader. I want to offer people a new way of looking at the world. I just love details and putting a spotlight on things that people otherwise wouldn’t notice.

What are you bringing to the WIELS Art Book Fair and how are such events important to your line of work?
I just sent two new books to the printer and I really hope they will be finished in time for the book fair! The first book is called The Lazy Reader. It’s a book that will give you a different story with every new reading. The other project is called Wish I Was A Wall. It’s a visual story of walls in (pop) music and it comes with its own mixtape. For pantingo, book fairs are very important. They allow me to get in direct contact with other book lovers. It’s always very inspiring to see how other people react to books. I enjoy seeing them smile when they flip through the pages, or see them bringing a book close to their noses to smell the pages. It’s a great place to discover new books, people, to get tips and have fun. pantingo uses these book fairs to do most of its distribution, so it’s a perfect way to get your books seen by as many people as possible.

 

WIELS Art Book Fair
7-8 September, Brussels
WIELS Contemporary Arts Centre

Free for all
www.wiels.org