Words Laura Bannister
There are book fairs and then there are BOOK FAIRS: all-caps, titillating affairs staged in residency-based arts centres that are loaded with history (and sometimes, with sleeping artists). VOLUME | Another Art Book Fair is in the latter camp, a very big-deal BOOK FAIR now in its second iteration. It’s held at—and run by—Artspace in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo, a former bulk store for the Sydney Morning Herald, and later a gunnery for the Royal Australian Navy during WWII.
This year’s event, which is produced in partnership with New York’s Printed Matter and Melbourne’s Perimeter Books, will feature more than 70 exhibitors: an international smattering of publishers, distributors, artists, collectives and galleries. We asked five of them—including Australia’s recently founded Spooky Books—to pick a highly-recommended read from their stand ahead of opening night.
VOLUME | Another Art Book Fair runs at Artspace in Woolloomooloo from Friday 13 October until Sunday 15 October. Doors open at 3pm on Friday, and the launch event runs from 6 until 9pm. Through the weekend, it will be open 11am until 6pm.
Christophe Boutin of Three Star Books, Paris
The book—24 Dessins Isométriques (Afrique Cubique) by Jonathan Monk, edition of 20 copies plus four artist’s proofs. Each is encased in a one-off, wax-print silkscreened slipcase.
“Jonathan Monk combines ideas and forms. Jonathan Monk links dates and locations. Jonathan Monk knows that great art is sparked by the friction of two antagonistic elements, ideas or forms. This time the artist decided to play with two of his favourite fetishes: African wax prints that adorn both his home and studio, and Sol Lewitt’s Isometric drawings. [The result unites] Monk’s most cherished artist, series of drawings, and textiles.”
“This book functions on two levels: at first glance, you’re hit with packed pages of brightly coloured, pop-art collages of cultish pop culture icons, books and films, made over the last 12 years and first published as a series of zines.
As you spend more time with the work, and read the two essays that line the front and back of the book, you’re enveloped in El Kholti’s meditations on nostalgia, music, and ultimately, the loss of his partner of 20 years, to whom the work is dedicated. The post-it on the front cover turns out to be a keepsake from the couple’s first weekend getaway. Hedi asks us to consider the accumulation of these images and keepsakes from a personal standpoint, showing us that the pop culture we love gives way to become an anchor, placing ourselves in time and in feeling. As the editor of the press, I was surprised to cry when I finished reading the proof.”
Fraser Stanley of Spooky Books, Australia
The book—Jarryd Lynagh’s Railways & Sleepers, edition of 50
“Railways & Sleepers is a newsprint publication by Sydney-based artist Jarryd Lynagh. Launched in March this year, it’s vital addition to our growing catalogue. As our fourth and most recent title, it represents the direction in which we are heading as a publisher. The publication brings together a collection of photographs made in Capella, a small town in regional Queensland. Presented as a town in its twilight, Capella has fallen victim to the familiar processes of post-industrialisation.
I had been drawn to the project since first encountering an early iteration in 2014. [The publication] is perfectly suited to the newsprint format. Newsprint is ephemeral in that it is non-archival. It is susceptible to the environment and will change over time, yet it plays a powerful role as an authoritative and familiar method of containing and condensing particular histories. Railways & Sleepers contradicts and expands on any notions of an overarching truth and unfolds with a careful and thoughtful lyricism.”
“[This book is a project, consisting] of a residency of artists exploring tactility in print, an exhibition and writings on the topic from various expert angles—ranging from digital and tactility, to reproduction and tactility, to professors trying to define it—as well as some easy-going Q&As with various print devices such as Ms Risograph, Mr Lithograph and such. This transdisciplinary approach—to dive into a topic with various people—is typical for Onomatopee Products: as public gallery and publisher, this is what we particularly produce.
This specific project is extra close [to me], as it all grew from the fact that many people stated, “ohhh, your books are so amazingly tactile,” which made me wonder what kind of bio-political agency I had upon them. Critical to pop-culture as much as to political rhetoric, I had to figure out more. That is why this endeavour is particular and stands out as both a poetic and wondrous as well as critical and analytical project. And, to be honest, the booklet is just lovely on a tactile level.
I was the initiator—as curator and editor—so the project did not go to me immediately. It took a lot of time and the engagement of many people. What I liked about the process is that it really ended up being a quest with a beginning and an end: the booklet starts with a letter to the reader raising critical, existential and poetic questions and articulating a curiosity for all the voices to be involved. It ends with another letter, wherein the experiences and information are reflected upon—[we are] partially disappointed and partially educated. The project also triggered a lot [for me]. In fact, I am now working on a project on the primacy of artistic processing over artistic result—dynamics over statics—to be launched later on this year in Onomatopee’s own gallery space and followed by a show at Bus Projects in Melbourne next year, if all goes well. The processing of that project, as well as the topic itself, is very much stimulated by [this] tactility project.”
Parker Bruce of Badlands Unlimited, New York
The book—Into Words by Carroll Dunham, edited by Paul Chan, with an introduction by Scott Rothkopf, chief curator of the Whitney Museum of Modern Art
“For Badlands’ first time participating in the VOLUME | Another Art Book Fair, we’re premiering our latest book, Into Words, the first collection of art writings by the great painter Carroll Dunham. We’ll also have a selection of our erotica series, New Lovers, all authored by women.”