Flemish-Dutch presentation of art(ists’) books at Art Rotterdam and Art Brussels

Table designed by Hendrik-Jan Hunneman

In 2015, 20 years of the Flanders-Holland Cultural Alliance is being celebrated. In the context of this anniversary, during the Art Rotterdam and the Art Brussels ‘Tafels’, the Mondriaan Fonds and Flanders Arts Institute are organising a presentation of 80 artists’ books and special art books from Holland and Flanders. The selection of the books being shown is made by Maaike Lauwaert (curator, art critic) and Luc Derycke (designer, publisher). The books are presented on a table that was designed by Hendrik-Jan Hunneman.
During Art Rotterdam (5-8 February 2015), the presentation is to be seen in the former distribution centre of the Van Nelle Fabriek, with the ‘Prospects & Concepts’ exhibition.

On the occasion of this presentation, the curators Maaike Lauwaert and Luc Derycke have invited six speakers for Thursday, 5 February, from 13:45 to 14:45 in the CitizenM-Lounge of the Van Nellefabriek to produce a statement on the importance of artists’ books and on the circumstances in which they are created. Among others: Lorenzo Benedetti (De Appel), Koen Brams (curator and writer), Nico Dockx (artist), Wilfried Huet (Publisher: Gagarin), Samuel Saelemakers (Curator: Witte de With) and Esther de Vries (designer).

Artists’ books are works of art that are made in the form of a book, usually in a small print run. The production of the books by artists (or on which artists collaborate) has never before been so flourishing as in this time of digital media. Designers have never been so inventive with paper, format, letter types and colour. The increase of scale in the world of publishers and bookstores—with less attention to smaller print runs and ‘niches’—has resulted in passionate publishers and proprietors of meeting points for art(ists’) books self-developing special initiatives. They do this with zeal, but in precarious circumstances.

How do we view artists’ books and art books today in the art world and in an environment of digitalisation, scaling up and mainstream? Which alliances are necessary, not only amongst artists, curators, designers and publishers, but also with art institutions, universities, high schools and the large book companies? Which qualities do digital media offer for a production that chiefly is physical, spatial and tactile? What role can the government play? Which routes do the artists, designers and publishers themselves see?

These are sufficient questions to invite a few speakers in order to produce a statement on artists’ books.
Date: Thursday, 5 February, from 13:45 to 14:45 Speakers: Lorenzo Benedetti (De Appel), Koen Brams (curator and writer), Nico Dockx (artist), Wilfried Huet (Publisher: Gagarin), Samuel Saelemakers (Curator: Witte de With) and Esther de Vries (designer). Location: Art Rotterdam—CitizenM-Lounge Van Nellefabriek, Van Nelleweg, Rotterdam Public transportation: The Van Nellefabriek is most easy to reach. Every 10 minutes, bus 38 departs from Rotterdam Centraal in the direction of Station Schiedam Centrum, Beukelsbrug bus stop. (transit time: 8 minutes) From the Beukelsbrug stop, it is a 2-minute walk to the Van Nellefabriek.

ART BRUSSELS The presentation of the artists’ books can be seen during Art Brussels from 24—27 April in the Brussels Expo (Heizel). Also in Brussels, an hour will be provided for which statements will be presented by: Phillip Van den Bossche (Mu.ZEE), Nikolaas Demoen (Publisher: Posture), Astrid Vostermans (Publisher: Valiz), Johannes Schwartz (artist) and Bas Vroege (curator), among others.

More information:

Mondriaan Fonds Mirjam Beerman, Chief of Communications, m.beerman@mondriaanfonds.nl, tel: +31 (0)20 5231590.
Flanders Arts Institute (Kunstenpunt): An Seurinck, Communications team Flanders Arts Institute an@kunsten.be