SPRINT _\|/_ 2016 Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon

It was 1983 when at Printed Matter Lucy R. Lippard was seeking for a distribution genius, or godmother, to inflame the hearts of a broader public with the burning desire to own artists’ booksArtists books dissemination wasn’t going so well, not even for one of the first associations born to support and spread artists’ books. The production was not an issue, more and more artists were proposing their books to the PM team but only a small part of the public seemed to care. « Le public n’est juste pas interessé » as some researcher would say.

Well, thirty years later that inflaming distribution genius, or godmother, has finally been found. Not only he exposed himself with an embracing and sustainable method of distribution, but also he proved to be so much fun, that people all over the world just keep inviting him. New York, Madrid, Vancouver, Dakar, Oslo and Singapore are just some of the cities in which artists, creatives, publishers and public come together and give life to those mesmerizing and unpredictable bazaars called art book fairs. The genius whom Lippard was craving isn’t a single man, nor the godmother a single woman, but brilliant groups of art, books, book art and art books aficionados who phenomenally set up these encompassing fairs to celebrate art and artists’ books in a non-conventional, non-institutional, globally inspired though locally anchored, marvelous way.


SPRINT, SPRINT 2016, Independent Publishers, Artists’ Books, Salon, Milan, Milano

SPRINT _\|/_ Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon – 2th Edition – 2014


That is exactly the spirit which boosts SPRINT _\|/_, Milan’s Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon, which is going to shake the city on November 25th – 27th. During three days _\|/_ will occupy Isola, the most vibrant neighborhood in Milan and present almost 60 independent publishers, artists and curators from all over the world. Different places, various formats and multiple approaches will converge and shape an intense cultural exchange between the public and international actors of the independent artistic scene. Alongside the non-profit fair a pulsing side program features exhibitions, talks, performances and presentations, aimed to engage an enriching dialogue between places, people and ideas.

As Silvia Bianchi once told me about Libros Mutantes in Madrid, this kind of fairs are all about tracking the globally-thrilled local initiatives which escape from the institutional and shape up in a more intimate, alternative and offbeat art scene. Those fairs are a unique yet critical moment to smell out and support the spreading panorama of independent or self-publishers, and _\|/_ seems to have found the perfect recipe to give value to the particular facettes of local landscapes in which they are navigating. With its expanded format, _\|/_ presents a range of events organized by non-profit art association O’ and curated by Dafne Boggeri in different locations, in the Isola district and around the city.


Tile, tileprojectspace, SPRINT, SPRINT 2016, Independent Publishers, Artists’ Books, Salon, Milan, Milano

Courtesy of Tile


_\|/_ will officially begin with on Friday November 25th with the opening of BILLION BALANCES by the swiss art collective LGG$B, curated by IDIOLETTA — Concerning Poetry and Art, where sculpture and poetry will be called upon to outline an intimate and feminine parallel dimension. On Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th the non-profit art book fair will showcase 57 international exhibitors. Among the new entries of this edition, you will be pleased to meet publishers like PRINTED WEB by Paul Soulellis from New York, PUBLIC COLLECTORS from Chicago, SHELTER PRESS from Rennes, DOMINICA from Los Angeles and RICOCHET.CC from Buenos Aires. This forth edition of _\|/_ is going to be especially cosmopolitan and it will be interesting to see how different creative approaches and foreign dimensions, well established as well as more personal publishing experiences will come together in a carnival for the eyes — and quite a pain for my wallet, can’t help it!


Real Madrid, Bianca Benenti Oriol, Marco Pezzotta, IDIOLETTA, Mattia Capelletti, Costanza Candeloro, SPRINT, SPRINT 2016, Independent Publishers, Artists’ Books, Salon, Milan, Milano

Courtesy of Real Madrid (Bianca Benenti Oriol, Marco Pezzotta)


During these two days, parallel to the salon, lots of events will enhance _\|/_ collateral program and connect different locations in an inspiring constellation of events. For instance, Aladino, an oriental carpets restoration lab, will host TEN KILOS OF APPLES IN A STRAW BASKET AND A HALF AN HOURS SOUND PIECE SURROUNDED BY MAGICAL CARPETS, a sound project by Felicia Atkinson from Rennes. The ideal pixels of BLADE BANNER will be printed on silk and showcased at La Isla Bonita. At Teatro Verdi we will be introduced to two editors of feminist art magazines – Dupuis (Petunia) and Gysel (Girls Like Us), wandering around Laeken Park in Bruxelles, with a video by Buenos Tiempos, Inc.. These are just three events of the rich side program. Nevertheless they illustrate _\|/_  intentions: the will of holding a global perspective of the artistic panorama while beating the drum for local and experimental initiatives, places and people, in order to promote the core values of a sustainable cultural action — embracing, supporting and sharing. This fair will be the occasion to weave everyday neighborhood stories with external outlooks, in a visionary melange of indigenous and exotic, hip and traditional, intimate and universal.


Dominica Publishing, Marco Braunschweiler, SPRINT, SPRINT 2016, Independent Publishers, Artists’ Books, Salon, Milan, Milano

Buttends anthropomorphic, ceramic bookends
Courtesy of Dominica Publishing – Marco Braunschweiler


Another big plus of _\|/_ is that is completely free — as trivial as it may sound. The riso print workshop with swiss duo Pierrick Brégeon e Clément Rouzaud requises a symbolic participation fee, but the access to every other event (fair included) is costless. Unlike other art book fairs,  _\|/_ has chosen to keep it free and gone even a step ahead: publishers are selected and directly invited by O’ and curator Dafne Boggeri, and neither stand fees nor books shipping costs are charged. Since the first edition accommodations are also arranged for publishers and artists from other cities. The free-of-charge policy for exhibitors is essential to give room to the truly independent, experimental, often undisclosed art scene and, of course, belongs to the very nature of artist’s books. Since the 60s, artist’s book embodies one of the most autonomous artistic expressions, which released artists from the commercial rules of the white cube. Neutral, inexpensive and available, the book format gave artworks a brand-new space and way of circulation, conceiving a fresher approach to the whole art world. As Ed Ruscha once said « When I start on one of these books, I get to be the impresario of the thing, I get to be majordomo, I get to be creator and total proprietor of the whole works, and I like that. It’s nice. And I’m not biting my nails over whether the book is going to hit the charts or not. » Books were seen as a way for artists to untie themselves from the art market, and non-profit art book fairs as SPRINT can be the way for publishers to disseminate them more freely.

On November 25th, 26th and 27th _\|/_ gives the city the opportunity to immerse in the booming spectrum of independent art publishers, thanks to the personal touch of curator and artistic director Dafne Boggeri and her selection of boldly experimental cultural and artistic organisations. With this promising fourth edition, _\|/_ proves to be one of the best established independent art publishing fair in Italy — and part of that artists’ books distribution genius Lippard was dreaming of.

SPRINT, SPRINT 2016, Independent Publishers, Artists’ Books, Salon, Milan, Milano


SPRINT—Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon

when — 25th – 27th november 2016
opening — 25th novembre, 19h
where — O’, via Pastrengo 12, Milan (non-profit fair) and other locations
info — webpage + facebook

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by Roberta Mazzotti
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