by Nina Prader // Apr. 1, 2021
Artist books are artworks in themselves. At einBuch.haus, grey designer shelves hold the hottest independent publishing titles on offer. The platform is an artist book gallery and bookstore in Pankow, presenting international publications, especially from Europe and Asia. Creative director and founder Frau Kim’s curatorial concept is to showcase a new artist book in conversation with an exhibition. The publication becomes an artwork in the space and is deconstructed into a walk-in book. The most recent and 17th edition was the launch of the publication ‘Bliss’ by the artist duo Franziska Brandt and Moritz Grünke, known as Gloria Glitzer.
From their studio in Wedding, they design artist books, which they understand as avatars, literal “bodies of work.” They also tend to the Herbarium Riso, a library of Risograph-printed ephemera. In the conceptual translation of ‘Bliss’ at einBuch.haus, the book and the notion of the body are decoded as an installation, commenting on gender, notions of fitness, health and care. The installation connects with ideas of labor and sport, in a world celebrating productivity until exhaustion, and particularly resonates in light of the pandemic, where jogging is one of the only authorized leisure activities.
The window-front of einBuch.haus reads: “DON’T YOU KNOW THAT I TREAT MY DAMN BODY FREE,” a quote from the song ‘Hit On Me’ by the Gaddafi Gals. For the advent of the exhibition, Gloria Glitzer printed ‘Bliss,’ a glossy off-set A4 magazine. It comes wrapped in a pink, fuchsia, or blue sweatband, athletic attire for all genders. The book’s content is reconstructed in the gallery space in 3D as an object, texture, or frame. The cover, depicting hot skin and droplets of sweat, is printed in the form of a giant banner, as the stage-backdrop. Like memes, many of the publication’s pages show an illustration in a digital style—solid color tones and renderings—with words subtitling the image. “MEETING WITH CONSEQUENCES” the subliminal message on one orange poster reads underneath a head-bust, alluding to how every encounter bears repercussions. A picture of two blue caps speaks of teamwork and dividing work equally. The smallest focal point is the most vulnerable centerpiece: a tiny pink locket. Its shape is reminiscent of an open book and rests on a plinth made of mirrors, reflecting the edition’s glossy print.
These defunct props for a work-out, and lifestyle-like imprinted towels, underline the empty promise of work-life-balance. Though the ideas are deep, the aesthetics are quirky, fun and playful. The materials and surfaces folding out from the book into the space make way for a meta experience and mindful exercise: though staying fit and productive is an ambivalent chore, solidarity is a bittersweet treat.