The Book Affair at Venice Art Biennale

Even though for quite some time now we are being told that books are dead, a shy but particularly passionate niche of producers tries to demonstrate the mainstream media that they are wrong. In fact, if you are even a tiny bit into design and art, you must have noted the resurgence of particularly well-produced magazine and books, printed matter and ephemera, together with the incredible growth of exhibitions and fairs exploring the phenomenon. It is in this particular context that The Book Affair, an event curated by a small Venetian publishing house – Automatic Books – was born.

Organized in the occasion of the 55th Venice Art Biennial, The Book Affair was founded with the idea of creating a platform for exchange and discussion about the contemporary production of artists’ books, situated in an intersection of disciplines — namely the visual arts, literary arts and/or critical design. A highly stimulating and fertile environment offered by one of the most significant art events in the world, La Biennale di Venezia, has allowed The Book Affair to propose a unique space of inquiry complemented by interdisciplinary practice, collaboration or coproduction. In fact, the event brought together numerous contemporary independent art and design publishers, graphic designers and artists, collectors and curators to confront their work and thoughts.

Thus, visitors were able to observe the history of art through the book media, in an exhibition curated by Giorgio Maffei, participate in conferences held by Dexter Sinister and David Horvitz, actively discuss contemporary publishing with Joshua Simon, Paul Soulellis or the founders of San Rocco magazine, check new books published by Valiz, Roma Publications, Rollo Press or Onomatopee, as well as simply enjoy the beautiful location of San Lorenzo library, proving the skeptics that books will probably never go out of style.

Rujana Rebernjak