Meet the Publisher

Curator: Paweł Kowalski | Cooperation: Katarzyna Roj

The exhibition “Meet the Publisher” has the goal to introduce
three independent publishers of photobooks to the festival’s audience:
Jason Fulford - J&L Books / USA
Rémi Faucheux - RVB-Books / France
Willem Van Zoetendaal - Van Zoetendaal Publishers / the Netherlands

A photo-book conveys an artist’s thought. Similarly to an exhibition in a gallery, it contains images and text, which aim at translating the message to the reader. The final version of the project and its influence on the audience is shaped by the content, as well as its form.

In contrast to an exhibition, a unique character of the book lies in the intimate meeting with the artist’s thought. It is directed at one person only – the reader, holding the book. The reader is very close and able to get to know the object well, being able to decide on their own about the rhythm, place and time to learn the story. One also has the opportunity to purchase the artist’s thought – in the form of the book, in order to come back to it at any time.

What’s the best way to convey the artist’s thought in a book?
When an idea appears, how should the artist proceed? How is a book made?
What should it look like?
Who should be responsible for the images and text?
Who is going to select the best parts and put them all together?
Who is going to design it? How will it be produced?
Where? How many copies? What materials?
How do you pay for it?
Who do you show it to? Where to send it? How much should it cost?
How to market it? How to sell it?

Publishers can answer these questions. If they find an idea they like – they work on it to bring it to the readers. Their role is to transpose an artist’s concept into a book medium and enable the symbolic meeting of the artist with the reader. What is important, the project and physical qualities of the book such as format, number of pages, type of paper and printing, binding should not dominate the content, but highlight and communicate the idea as clearly as possible.

Therefore, publishers are transparent.

Their role is to select the design tools so that the story shines, yet the publisher’s work stays in the shadow. Sometimes the seemingly obvious form hides a gigantic effort. Paradoxically – despite the expected invisibility – publishing is very complex and it demands expertise in various fields: design, printing, marketing, distribution, sales, administration, finance, etc. Each new project provokes different questions. It is an art form by itself to remain hidden while there are so many problems to solve.

Publisher are very influential on the art market, and in a way responsible for artists’ careers. While switching between roles, publishers select the most intriguing ideas and fit all the pieces to complete a given project. They become curators, designers, promoters, salespeople, whose decisions impact the artists’ careers in the long run. A photo-book is a strong medium for communication between artists and the audience, reaching much further than a traditional exhibition.
Paweł Kowalski

The installation uses source materials: print samples, materials, paper, book models, limited editions. Some of the projects are highlighted, including:

Lee To Sang: To Sang Photo Studio
Sigrid Calon & Willem Van Zoetendaal – Screening
Paper Airplanes: The Collections of Harry Smith Catalogue Raisonné, Volume I
String Figures: The Collections of Harry Smith Catalogue Raisonné, Volume II
Mike Mandel – Good 70s
Enter the Pyramid – Olivier Cablat
Augustin Rebetez – Anthill (Meteorites)

Those participating in the opening weekend of TIFF Festival will have a chance to meet the publishers personally between 1-4 September 2016 in Wroclaw.

Meet the Publisher
Curator: Paweł Kowalski
Cooperation: Katarzyna Roj
24 August – 2 November 2016
Gallery Dizajn BWA Wrocław
2-4 Świdnicka Street, Wrocław

The exhibition was prepared in collaboration with JASTAA, Mandala Design and Kartell.

About exhibition (PDF)