Forty Years of Atlas Press
Atlas Press was set up to champion extremist and avant-garde prose from the 1890s to the present day. It is the largest publisher in English of writings from the Surrealist, Dada and Expressionist movements, the Collège de ‘Pataphysique, the Oulipo and the Vienna Actionists – mostly for the first time in translation. The exhibition celebrates forty years of Atlas Press and remembers and honours one of its founding editors, Alastair Brotchie, who died earlier this year.
On show in Conway Hall are rare early anthologies, The Printed Head, square books, flyers, ephemera, and posters and photos from exhibitions, events and gatherings organised by Atlas. From Peter Blegvad to Dieter Roth and from Ray Galton and Alan Simpson to André Breton – over 140 books, all with Alastair Brotchie’s artwork.
Co-founder with Alastair was artist and publisher Malcolm Green who lives in Berlin. The two were later joined by Antony Melville as French-language and series editor and Chris Allen as copy editor and annotator. The editors described the writing they published as “…never solemn; experimental, but not mere exercises in formalism; humorous but not (often) frivolous; it is extremist, demanding, delightful and sometimes appalling…”.
Unica Zürn’s The Man of Jasmine and Other Stories was the imprint’s last book. The remaining editors have decided that Atlas will fold, and with it another notable extension to a reclaimed world.
Forty Years of Atlas Press was organised by Malcolm Green (Red Sphinx). On the blog you’ll also find Remembering Alastair Brotchie, a speech, written and given by Malcolm Green at Alastair’s funeral in February 2023.