RGAP publishes artists books, publications, editions, multiples, and works with other centres in the UK and abroad, setting up collaborative projects, publications, exhibitions and conferences.


- a report from an artists book fair
with almost no discussion of artists books


Within the area of activity commonly referred to as artists books there are many corners, many positions. The diversity of exhibitors who participate in the London Artists Book Fair is indicative of the broad band of activity which floats under this general term. For most of the nineties the fair has functioned as an annual gathering of those who produce, and those who collect, publications by artists. In this respect the fair has been a great success. Unfortunately the relatively high price of stands this year excluded a number of regular participants these included: Moschatel press, Wild Hawthorn Press, Coracle and Colin Sackett, four of the most consistent and respected publishers of artists publications. (Potential exhibitors were offered 'a standard booth' consisting of '1 table, 2 chairs, 1 light' for a fee of £320.00 +VAT).

Many art colleges now run specialist courses in book making and artists publications in general. A number of these institutions regularly exhibit at book fairs, to act as both an outlet for the publications of their students and as a recruitment platform for their courses. Singular among these is RGAP (Research Group for Artists Publications) based at Derby School of Art and Design. 'Everything's a Pound' is typical of RGAP publications (email). The spiral bound publication catalogues a gathering of books each of which weighs one pound. The books included in the survey were donated by individuals in response to an invitation. The entry for Erica Van Horn's 'Blessed John Bosco' reads: ' I picked out Blessed John Bosco at the fethard [Co Tipperary] car boot sale by measuring the weight by hand. I was wrong according to the Post Office scales, so I drilled one hole and took it back down to the Post Office. I was still wrong so I made two more holes and hope it's spot on.'

Inventory (email) is a modestly produced A5 journal, subtitled 'losing, finding, collecting'. 'The journal is devoted to and interested in developing the essay as a form and thus has no review articles. We wish to make Inventory a space for a theory/practice that links and conflicts writing and image, found and made, the lost and discovered.' The editorial bricolage that is Inventory accommodates contributions that vary wildly in content and quality. 'Within its brown overcoat it offers the space for a conception of essay writing that can adopt a multitude of approaches...' Vol. 4 No. 1, 2000 includes an account of Coagulum a street action in Kingston, Limen a photographic survey of the doorway intercom and Anthropofferjim Manifesto, by Steve Beard.

The New Arcadian Journal (email) share an interest with Inventory in the form of the journal as a site for regular discourse. Edited by Patrick Eyres the focus of NAJ is the cultural landscape; the garden as a attack, the political garden and the sexual garden are recurring themes. In the most recent issue Gardens of Desire (no 49/50) West Wycombe is presented as a sexual parody of the more famous landscape garden Stowe. 'These gardens are all about sex (eg Stowe, Stourhead, West Wycome), but their history is being covered up by National Trust prudery, this makes it impossible to understand their true significance.'

Among the many straightforward publications on the poet Alan Halsey's stand (email) was a charming publication on the theme of the private library. Visions of the Western Railways, which takes the form of two unbound folded sheets, consists of 27 numbered texts. '2. If you keep books you think you might not find again which isn't true of most books nevertheless why? / 8. If for reference then with reference to what? / 27. For the title on its spine alone and why not VISIONS OF THE WESTERN RAILWAYS 1838'.

Mark Pawson:
Die-Cut Plug Wiring Diagram Book

Mark Pawson is a self appointed mailart superstar, antecedents of his practice would include Ray Johnson and Ben Vautier. His stand was full to the brim with T-shirts, Badges, comics, pamphlets and records. 'Die-Cut Plug Wiring Diagram Book' is Pawsons best known publication, which collects the illustrations that accompany British 13amp plugs to facilitate correct wiring. This is a best-seller of the artists book world, with thousands of copies sold over the last decade.

Marcus Campbell who is behind the book fair had, as usual, a tempting selection of second hand items from his shop on Bankside. Among other things I picked up a copy of Ian Hamilton Finlay's 'Selected Ponds', produced in collaboration with the photographer Dave Paterson in 1975, and a copy of Simon Cutts' 'A Fold of Sewn Cotton' which incorporates an image in blind emboss of the little impression made by the knot in a sewn pamphlet.

So a report from an artists book fair with almost no discussion of artists books. I saw no new artists books of any interest, there were fine examples of the anthology (pocketbooks - looking sleek and professional), journals, catalogues, illustrated books and various forms of printed matter. The idea of artists books has become incredibly popular, but in the midst of this popularity the form is apparently suffocating.


Exhibitors: Adinolfi / Williams, Ambeck / Nicholson, Sawako Ando, Art Bound, Artists' Newsletter, Art Monthly, Atlas Press, David Barton, Between Books, The Book Project, Book Works, Edward Boxall, Brent Artists' Register, University of Brighton, Camberwell College of Arts, Marcus Campbell Art Books, Bob Cobbing, Daily Twit, James C. Duckworth, Enitharmon Press, Fibonacci Press, Lizze Gardiner, Barbara Greisman, Half Pint Productions, Hardware Gallery, Heather Hunter Books, Honeysett / Cornner, Hungarian Artists' Books, Impact Press, Inventory, Korean Artist, Korean University Association, Liver and Lights, London College of Printing, Mattrat Marchaland, Mermaid Turbulence, Morning Star Publications, Stuart Mugridge, New Arcadian Press, Otto, Ti Parks, Parvenu Press, Mark Pawson, Real Art, RGAP, Richard Saltoun, Sara Ranchouse Publishing, Sayenko Dimitri, Batool Showghi, Sun Moon and Stars Press, thingsnotworthkeeping, Tufnell Artpress, UsandCo, Weproductions, West House Books, Julia Wilson, Windmill Hole Studio.



aktuelt | aktuelt-arkiv | english | 15/12/00