Arts Libris: Highlights

On the 24th of April P&B fell in love with Arts Libris. This remarkable event, a book fair focused on art books and contemporary publishing, brought together over 80 exhibitors, as well as two exhibitions, an International Symposium on publishing and collecting, and a parallel programme of workshops and panel discussions. Unfortunately we were unable to attend the parallel activities, but we were completely blown away by the sheer beauty and imagination of the books on display. The exhibitors, which included 8 schools as well as publishers, galleries, and other organizations, all had something captivating to share. It would be impossible to mention them all, so instead we have compiled a list of 3 highlights from Arts Libris 2015:

  1. The Art Schools.
    Despite the fantastic selection of professional exhibitors, I stick to my guns: The best part of Arts Libris 2015 were the schools. These included schools from Barcelona as well as Tarragona, Rubi, Oviedo and Arnheim, all of which displayed a really impressive standard of quality and very original projects. Unfortunately they were separated from the main hall downstairs, tucked away on the second floor where many visitors may have missed them. For those that did find them, there were tons of gems to discover, books in all shapes and sizes made by students of illustration, print-making, design, and photography. My favourite books of the fair were found at the Escola Massana desk. Three beautiful creations hand made by Ina Hristova: Lolita, The Lord of the Flies, and The Master and Margarita, bound in hardback and containing beautiful screen printed illustrations and selected texts. They are truly unique collectors editions of these timeless, classic novels. Ina is originally from Bulgaria and is currently an illustration student at Escola Massana, she often incorporates print-making techniques into her work and has completed various projects in Bulgaria and Spain.
  2. Oslo Graphic Barceloneta
    Oslo Graphic Barceloneta is a Graphic Design studio and co-working space, a place where graphic designers can meet and work, decked with many resources to support their practice. It boasts print-making facilities, a fully equipped photography studio, and an exhibition space. At Arts Libris they had a desk displaying a selection of artist books, mostly by Mariya Alipieva. The most striking, If You Were Me/If I Were You (silkscreen on paper), consists of 100 sheets of Schoeller paper, each printed with a photograph of the artist, layered on top of each other to create a very slightly distorted self portrait. Mariya’s pieces are bold creations which push the boundaries of what constitutes a book, they are something between an art object and a book.
  3. Jessica Lange: Unseen
    Alongside the book fair Arts Libris organized an exhibition of the photographic work of American actress Jessica Lange which will be on until the 28th of June. Lange was interested in photography from an early age, in fact in 1967 she was granted a scholarship from University of Minnesota to study photography, but she decided to focus on her acting career. It was not until the early 90s that she took up photography again, with a Leica M6, and she began to use photography to record her travels and observations. The exhibition, entitled Jessica Lange: Unseen, brings together 134 black and white pieces taken over the last 20 years. The sharp and striking photographs capture the things she sees and is enchanted by, from folkloric Mexican characters and traditions, to delicate and poetic moments – a young girl lost in thought seen through a rear-view mirror, for example. Jessica Lange is a shrewd observer and has a knack for composition and light.

arts libris, barcelona