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
Research Group for Artists Publications (RGAP) was an independent non-profit artist-led organisation based initially at the University of Derby, and in its latter years in Yorkshire Art Space in Sheffield.
Led by artist and publisher Martin Rogers RGAP published artists’ books and editions, organised exhibitions and events, and set up and ran Small Publishers Fair for its first decade.
In 2012 Martin Rogers died. Throughout 2013 RGAP colleagues and Martin’s widow Lindsey Adams worked intensively to put in order the extensive RGAP archive. The Coracle publication Construction Storage Despatch celebrates Martin Rogers’ life.
At this time was also decided that Small Publishers Fair had an identity and momentum of its own and should be continued. Helen Mitchell, who had previously worked with both RGAP and Coracle, was invited to take on the running of the fair.
Ten RGAP titles including Stephen Willats’ ‘Artwork as Social Model’ continue to be available through Cornerhouse Publications. The RGAP archive and Martin Rogers own collection of artist’s books have now been taken by Chelsea College of Art Library, University of the Arts London.
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