Small Publishers Fair 2015 sees the launch of a book by Coracle that celebrates the life and work of Fair founder, Martin Rogers. A few words here from Coracle Director, poet, artist, writer and editor Simon Cutts.
Martin Rogers, printer, sculptor and publisher, was the exemplar of a condition that had become prevalent after the nineteen sixties. He had moved the physical materials of his work to the production of multiple objects in printed form, to books and publication, eventually embracing the idea of publishing as the platform for the work. At the same time, in the way he avoided the side-track, even the cul-de-sac, of the so-called artists book, he becomes emblematic of that repositioning.
With this book we attempted to site this as a different model. The work moves from its Construction through Storage to its Despatch into the world as Publication. The book becomes a homage to Martin within the context of the Small Publishers Fair, which he established in 2002 and continued to organise until 2012, and will be available from both the information table at the Conway Hall Fair and the Coracle stand, the publishers of the book.
Texts by John Bevis and Simon Cutts, with a survey of the Research Group for Artists Publications by Jill Mustchin, with assistance from Rodger Brown, and a bibliography by John Janssen.
Simon Cutts, October 2015
www.coracle.ie | @thecoracler
2013 was a year of transition for RGAP (Research Group for Artists Publications) with the death in late 2012 of director, and Small Publishers Fair founder Martin Rogers.
There was move from Yorkshire Artspace in Sheffield to a temporary home in Derbyshire, where work began on archiving the extensive collection of publications and other materials.
Three new titles were published, all of them designed by Martin’s long-term collaborator and Small Publisher Fair regular Colin Sackett. These were:
‘Self Contained’ recent work by Rebecca Fortnum on the formation of identity and the power of the gaze.
‘Behind the Eyes : making pictures’ in which 12 artists reflect on their relationships with the source material for their work, in a wide-ranging discussion of contemporary pictorial practice.
‘Booklive’: a survey of current thinking and innovative practice in contemporary publishing, which was presented at BOOKLIVE! International symposium in London in June 2012.
Ten RGAP titles including Stephen Willats’ ‘Artwork as Social Model’ are available through Cornerhouse. Martin Rogers amassed a vast collection of artist’s books for personal, colleague and student reference. These have now been taken by Chelsea College of Art Library, University of the Arts London, who also hold the RGAP archive in their library.
Any further information about RGAP or their publications, or about Martin Rogers, please contact Lindsey Adams on 01243 775870.
It seems to me that the Small Publishers Fair is a model of arts administration. Requiring no subsidy to make it work: the money in is the money out, and you can happily forget the Arts Council and pen-pushing.
Of course the whole enterprise is necessarily limited by corrective scale, and if you can only get 50 tables into the Conway Hall, then you have the requisite number of publishers. The New York Art Book Fair is overpowering with 10,000 visitors on the Saturday. The Small Publishers is almost a family affair by comparison, and long may it remain so, by far our favourite.
Clearly there may eventually be issues of demand, but so far this has not been a problem. It should never become an issue of ‘selection’ as at the esteemed Whitechapel, (in the age of Prizes), because it seems like self-selection has been adequate, and sharing tables and on a first come first served basis. I think the SPF can move into a new era, thanks to the ground work done by Martin Rogers and other RGAP comrades.
Simon Cutts. Coracle