The artist book is a publishing format that gain ground in editorial fairs, capturing sights of the crowd and gaining value by its content and continent. For showing it, editorials say, it is necessary to talk about the artist history and the book creation.
In the neighborhood of Lastarria, in the street Estado Unidos, Naranja librería y editorial is located, where a workshop contains the artists’ books who produce and trade two sebastians: Arancibia and Barrante. The duet has been editing for a couple of years and they have shown their work in different fairs inside and outside the country. There, among several things, is the book by Guillermo Núñez that has a cover intervened directly by the artist, as well as including an original of the National Visual Arts Award 2007 inside.
I doubt the Chilean editorial industry functioning
In the editorial fairs we find María Paz Morales, editor of the project Dudo ediciones, who seeks to deliver a fairer treatment to the artist within the editorial line, paying more copyrights for those who create. Different styles of manual binding account for the unique work of each of the books, it is a playful spirit that is reflected in the logo of the publisher, which refers to the traditional game with dice. And also the name has a meaning found in the description of the project: ” I doubt the current Chilean editorial industry functioning.”
The artist book concept, an experimental publishing variation, links both projects and peeks the independent editorial industry future.
When did you start this?
Barrante (naranja): 2014, first it started as a bookstore and it was born from the need of both to find books in Chile that did not arrive at that moment, which do not necessarily have to do with the artists’ books or the experimental publication, but rather from the more visual area, photography, design, which were books that we found on trips and then we said “why do not they arrive in Chile”, that was the first approach. At first it was not the idea to make books, just to bring them and to market them, that was the first idea of Naranja in 2014, but then, when we found the artist book, we decided to completely specialize the bookstore, at the end of 2015 or 2016, only this area, the format is an active support that becomes part of the content as well. And as a result of that, we started editing. The first work was “5 south, memories on the border” of Magdalena Jordán. She is an artist and illustrator and we started this joint creation work. We believe that the artist’s book, the experimental publication merits a work of the same level as the artist.
I started four years ago, and with the union of experimental publishers (UEE) we started two years ago, but we are just conforming this 2018. I started alone, because I started publishing and the things that I’m interested in publishing, which were experimental publications, fanzines, books of artists and rather small manual things, that did not fit in the traditional market of the book, nobody was publishing that and there was no greater interest. I started doing it myself, I started to publish other people. It was between personal need and an existing void in the market.
There is consensus on that is an artwork that takes natural qualities of the book
How do you define the artist book?
Morales (Dudo): I put those formats into the great concept that is the experimental book, there are others such as book photo or book album, I put them there, the artist’s book is the handmade book, what is the limit of what is made by hand? Is the mobile type made by hand? It goes further, that is what you want to achieve with this type of publications, and it is the experimental book because the general concept comes from what you want to say or from its format.
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Arancibia (Naranja): the artist book is very difficult to define, because there is not a consensus in general of what requirements a work must have to be an artist’s book, but there is consensus that it is a work of art that takes the natural qualities of the book, which It would be a temporary space sequence, and it is an artist’s book because it works as a work of art. It is what we also believe. There is a first step that is to explain the work and the support. It is an almost educational or mediation work, which is to educate, to make talks in universities, colleges, it also tries to get that information to collectors, because some collectors do not understand it as an artwork and in some fairs they look like the gifts section.
There is a situation raised in the artist book, that is the digital artist book
Is the artist book the future of the independent edition?
Barrante (Naranja): There was a rise in a digital moment but after sales stagnated and always returns the issue of paper, of the analog, also the subject of the binding, were very few and suddenly as there was a boom again of the binding; there was concern of traditional publishers to improve the graphic of books, but there is a situation that arises already in the artist book, which is the digital artist book, which is the niche of the niche, it is super interesting the expansion of the book as installation to how it interacts with new technologies, what is happening now, how the artist’s book is handled in digital environments. In Holland there is a master for these subjects. There are several situations.
Morales (Dudo): This is just building here and there are very few people who know, in the universities where there is a career in visual arts there is no artist book even as an elective, while in other countries it is super developed. We have to do a collective work between educating the population, generating new authors, opening a space within the market and that is what is being done. They are not the future of independent publishing as the only place where they are going to arrive, I think it will open more as a format within visual pieces.