Provisional Space By Roma Publications

Provisional Space By Roma Publications

When William Morris established Kelmscott Press in the 1850s he couldn’t have known what it would cause around the year 2000.

The expression ‘independent publishing’ wasn’t of a common use in the period when one of the most significant revivals in the history of printing was getting a foothold. Morris fought viciously against industrial production of books in order to protect the dignity of the printed letter as conveyor of human thought and knowledge. Looking at it nowadays we might judge Morris a snob, as mass book production led to a significant cultural revolution. Without judging Morris any further, we must agree that his teaching has raised quite a numerous population of illuminated graphic designers in the present. In more than one hundred years of aggressive development, designers have passed through many phases, and as history is always cyclical, here we are again.

Today’s print revival movement is called ‘independent publishing houses’ and the phenomena has reached such a wast output that probably any of you reading this can name at least two. As much as one can appreciate the effort and beauty of making things by hand, not all of these independent publishing houses really manage to produce something that goes beyond a few xeroxed zines.

Actually there are only a few that have started producing mature books, both as physical objects and as type of content. One of those publishing houses is “Roma Publications”, founded by Mark Manders and Roger Willems in 1998 and based in Amsterdam. In almost fifteen years of though work the publishers have produced a huge amount of books neither of which is to be disregarded. The bases of their success certainly lies in the strict collaboration between the artist and the publisher through a ‘content-specific’ method. This is why their editions vary from 2 to 150000 and can take the form of a flyer as well as an exclusive artists’ book.

To celebrate the earned success Roma Publications has gathered its niche of precious authors in an exhibition called ‘Provisional Space’. If you’re around Paris, be sure to pop by Castillo/Corrales until the 7th of April, to see this truly morrisian heritage.

Rujana Rebenjak – Images courtesy of Roma Publications