LAGE EGAL opened its temporary art bookshop (#TABS) on Thursday night to an enormous crowd. This is the second exhibition of its kind that I’ve attended in the last month, following Apartment Project‘s (unfortunately titled but successfully carried out) Even my mum can make a book #4, which recently ended.
Other than the gallery context, what makes these exhibitions of alternative publishing like zines, fanzines, artist books and self-made editions different from zine fairs existing worldwide? The show at LAGE EGAL seems to have a focus on graphic and typographic design, but a fairly democratic open call left room for a wide range of inclusions. The impetus was to give exposure to the concrete documentation conducted by artists themselves, of their own work, and within their body of work. Aside from accompanying exhibitions, artist’s books are rarely the focus of a show…until now. But the exhibition format may not be the right one for these works, especially on an opening night. People were elbow-to-elbow, trying to leaf through the delicate pages of a limited edition commodity. Unlike at Apartment Project, there’s no where to sit and peruse the publications slowly.
On the other hand, the exhibition serves to re-contextualize the works not as supplements to the art itself but as an integral part of the artist’s oeuvre, which should be treated in a similar fashion. After the rush of the vernissage – a testament to its success – it’s to be hoped that many will return to experience the publications by hundreds of international artists, at a more leisurely pace.