«Aus dem Off legen»

Six publishing houses for art and one collector

June 04, 2007 to September 09, 2007

Six dedicated and innovative small publishing houses that have committed themselves to the bibliophilic art book were given the opportunity to present themselves within the framework of this exhibition in the Art Library. These so-called «off» publishing houses have a multifaceted network of contacts with collectors and artists, which were represented exemplarily in this regard by Daniel Rohner, and Josef Felix Müller and Hans-Peter Feldmann. The presentation «Aus dem Off legen» forms the continuation of the series of exhibitions on the thematic focus of the Art Library in the Sitterwerk - the connection between book and art. The positions presented were:

Barbara Wien, Berlin

Since 1988, Barbara Wien has managed her business in Berlin as a publishing house, gallery and bookshop for art books. The publishing house produces above all books and portfolios of artists of the gallery. The publications are designed according to the ideas of the authors and are autonomous artists’ books and editions. As publisher, she also collaborates with other publishing houses, e.g. with Edition Hansjörg Mayer, London/Berlin on «Dieter Roth: Collected Interviews», 2002. The books offered by the bookshop include artist's books since the 1960s, and catalogues and texts by artists. A special focus of the bookshop is Fluxus and Conceptual art. The gallery brings artistic concepts from the 1960s together with current works.

Hans-Peter Feldmann, Düsseldorf

The artist and publisher Hans-Peter Feldmann lives and works in Düsseldorf. Since 1968, he has been exploring photography in conceptual approaches. The basis for his publications and exhibitions is his own constantly expanding archive of images, which consists of newspaper photos, amateur images, and artistic photography. In the selection of the materials for his publications, which he publishes in his two publishing houses (1974 Drei-Möwen-Verlag, 1998 Feldmann-Verlag), aesthetic assessment criteria and hierarchical differentiation play no role for him. Within the framework of the exhibition in the Sitterwerk, the original prints of the photographs that formed the basis for the booklet of 1974 «Alle Kleider einer Frau» (All the Clothes of a Woman) were presented in an intimate setting in the guestroom in the Library.

Nieves, Zurich

Benjamin Sommerhalder was the youngest of those invited. He studied graphic design and published the cultural magazine «Zoo» from 1999 to 2001. Because of overly expensive production costs and because he wanted to be more flexible as a publisher, he established the Nieves Verlag in 2001. The «Zines» - photocopied artist's booklets in very small editions of 100 to 150 copies - proved to be an ideal medium for his ideas and quickly became coveted collector items. In more in-depth collaboration with artists, artist's books are also created in limited editions. With its unusual publications, the publishing house brings a fresh breeze into the book trade. Nieves collaborates with an international network of artists - one emphasis being Japan - and also organizes exhibitions.

edition fink, Zurich

With edition fink, Matthias Kuhn and Georg Rutishauser have run a small publishing house for contemporary art since 1994. They have also made it their task to produce artist's books and catalogues in small editions. Each year, between 10 and 20 publications, each with their own design and execution, are created in close cooperation with artists.

Edizioni Periferia, Lucerne/Poschiavo

Under the motto «contemporary art at the periphery», Flurina and Gianni Paravicini-Tönz have managed a gallery since 1986 and, as Edizioni Periferia, a publishing house since 1991. It produces books, editions and videos by Swiss artists with particular thematic focuses; standard editions, limited special editions and editions as bibliophilic art objects. Since 2006, the Pro Helvetia Foundation's «Collection Cahier d'Artistes» has also appeared in Edizioni Periferia. The series supports young professional artists who do not yet have their own publications.

Vexer, St.Gallen

The artist Josef Felix Müller established the Vexer publishing house in 1985 with the goal of creating an independent vehicle for the dissemination of artistic works. Müller sees the publishing house and its cultural-political activities as an important component of his artistic work. The publications «books, catalogues, multiples, videos, graphic editions and original artist's books» are created in cooperation with those who produce the art. The publishing activities began with a series of text booklets in small editions, all of them set in hot type, printed in the letterpress process, and bound by hand with the help of friends.

Daniel Rohner, St.Gallen

In this context of art book publishers and artists, Daniel Rohner represents the position of the collector. As benefactor of the inventory of the Art Library, he is the ultimate embodiment the passionate collector. In his own display case, he created references between the publishers and his own collection in the Art Library.