The first edition of The Art Chapter, a new art book fair in Milan, which will take place from 17 to 19 November in the BASE spaces, will be inaugurated today on the occasion of Bookcity. The curatorship of the event, involving over 35 Italian and foreign publishers, was entrusted to Boîte Editions, a non-profit association founded by Giulia Brivio and Federica Boragina. To find out more, we interviewed the two curators.
How has your collaboration developed within Boite Editions and what is your association doing?
Boîte is a non profit association focused on art publishing founded in 2009, since then we publish a magazine of the same name, inside a cardboard box – the packaging of magazine is a tribute to Marcel Duchamp. The editorial line is focused on the connections between history of art and contemporary age, with a specific attention to Italian art. Since 2014 the activity of the association has expanded to the development of artists’ books in a limited edition.
Since the 1960s, art publishing is an important space for experimentation and expression, alongside the so-called major arts in the development of new creative languages. What has changed with the advent of the digital era in the artist’s approach to the book as an object?
The art publishing is the result of the encounter of two experiences, the artistic one and the publishing one, both of them are particularly influenced by technological changes. Obviously, digital technology allows new experiments that are hardly found in the artist’s books of the 1960s, but nothing prevents an artist’s book from being browsed on a tablet. Of course, if it is or will be, we will have to rethink some features of the artist’s book definition. Beyond that, the immateriality that characterizes the digital era brings us to a new interest in the publishing projects for its physical and objectual nature.
The Art Chapter is a new exhibition of art books in Milan. How has this project developed and what are its objectives?
TheArtChapter – Milano art book fair is the result of the synergy between two important Milanese institutions: BASE Milano, the city’s new centre for creativity and culture, and BookCity, the sprawling three-day event that has for a number of years been engaging the city’s inhabitants and many from further afield in an array of initiatives to promote reading. TheArtChapter is a shared narrative in which the book figures not merely as a record of a piece or exhibition, but as a work of art in its own right. The binding, paper, graphics and printing technique all take on the same importance as the brushstrokes of a painting, the chromatic range of a drawing, the material from which a sculpture is made. The curatorship of the first edition has been assigned to Boîte Editions. The first edition of TheArtChapter sets out, first and foremost, to engage people in the process and start a dialogue, an exchange between the professionals and those who are curious to learn more about the world of contemporary art and publishing.
How were the publishers who took part in the event selected?
The first edition is by invitation only. The selection of publishers, from Italy and abroad, is based on the aspects of research and innovation of their projects. They make artist’s books in limited editions, but also art books with experimental graphic design. The majority of them are independent publishers and so this fair will be a occasion to show their books. Also some magazines are included in the selection because the magazine format is one of the favorite by the artists.
The growing interest of professionals and curious about printed paper envisions the presence of a specific collection dedicated to this sector. What is the identikit, if any, of the collector of art books?
The artist’s book collections are improving. During the Sixties, the artist’s books were widely diffused because of their low prices, they were more accessible than artworks. Now, some artist’s books are really expensive, but there is a significant proposal of artist’s book by young artists at reasonable price. The artist’s books’ collector might be young, curious and, as a real good collector, paper’s fetishist.
The exhibition path is completed, as in every good fair, by a talk show where artists will meet the public and sign copies of their works. Can you tell us something about the artworks that will be presented?
Yes, during the opening there is a talk called The book as artwork: tradition and innovation. We will speak about the story of artist’s book and introduce a new project that we considered really interesting in the publishing context, Ed.Cat, a database dedicated to artist’s books. We will talk about it with the founder, Jan Steinbach. Book signing are scheduled on Saturday and Sunday: we would like to create some special moments to discover the magic world of artist’s publishing.
The Art Chapter. Milano Art Book Fair
Opening Friday 17 h. 18.00
Friday 17: 18.00 – 21.00 / Saturday 18: 10.30 – 21.00 / Sunday 19: 10.30 – 20.00
Via Bergognone 34, Milano
San Rocco Natale
Artphilein Editions – Cidade em movimento by Delio Jasse