Friday, January 02, 2015

Art Book Festivals in Berlin, Part 2

This is part two of a two-part report on recent art book festivals I attended in Berlin. To read part one, click here.


Report on Friends with Books: Art Book Fair Berlin 2014

On 13/14 December, Friends with Books hosted Art Book Fair Berlin 2014, a “festival for contemporary artists’ books and periodicals by artists and art publishers.” Friends with Books is a non-profit organization founded in 2014 with the goal of “offering greater visibility to contemporary artists’ books and art publications.” The group’s activities include – in addition to the book fair – public programming and partnerships with art organizations to facilitate the engagement of a variety of audiences with the book works of artists and publishers. (Information taken from the program for the book fair.)

Café Moskau

Art Book Fair Berlin 2014 was held at Berlin’s famous Café Moskau, a historic building opened in 1964 on Karl-Marx-Allee and meant “to symbolise the fraternal relations between the GDR and the Soviet Union, and provide insights into Russia’s culinary and cultural customs” (from the Café Moskau web site). Considering it was the organization’s first book fair, an impressive number and variety of exhibitors filled the showroom. The more than 100 exhibitors included book publishers, artist organizations, as well as arts-related periodicals from countries including Germany, United States, Great Britain, Iceland, Japan, Australia, Belgium, Portugal, and Switzerland.

A good showing of attendees at the book fair.

The event featured presentations on a variety of art-literary topics, including “Synaesthesia and the Unseen,” a conversation with Rebecca Partridge and Lauren Reid on the occasion of the launch of Partridge’s book Notations, by Broken Diamanche Press. On Sunday, 14 December, Art historian and curator Dr. Sophie Berrebi, author of The Shape of Evidence spoke with German artist Susanne Kriemann to examine the role and use of visual documents in contemporary art.

The table of Slovenian publisher Zavod P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E.

Many authors and publishers offered book signings on-site, including Yuji Hamada (Photograph, 2014, lemonmelon books), Moritz Frei (Ölbild für gebrauchtes Aut, 2014, MMKoehn Verlag), and Zora Mann (Zora Mann’s Magical coloring book, 2014, Motto Books).

Also as part of the event, a variety of “interventions” and projects were installed around the ground floor of Café Moakau to provoke discussion, often in conjunction with performances and lectures during the event. One such installation was “Good Times & Nocturnal News”, by Egle Kulbokaite and Carl Palm, which consisted of the first two magazine editions and a “dripping ice moon.”

Friends with Books also produced Poster Editions for the Art Book Fair. Four posters were commissioned by Berlin-based artists. Twenty-five of each edition were signed and numbered by the artists, while the rest of the limited editions were offered for free to attendees. The signed and numbered posters are being sold to raise funds for the projects of Friends with Books. Posters can be purchased directly from Friends with Books via email inquiry (

Broken Diamanche Press -

Friends with Books –

Zavod P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. -

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