Vienna Art Book Fair #2 – A Must For All Art Book Lovers!

The Vienna Art Book Fair (VABF), which will take place for the second time from October 20-22, 2023, is an international festival for the promotion and dissemination of artists’ publications.

In cooperation with the Angewandte – University of Applied Arts Vienna, the Expositur at Vordere Zollamtsstraße 7, 1030 Vienna will be transformed into an experience park for book lovers in two weeks. The focus of VABF is on the international exchange of creativity, design, technology, printing, and bookbinding techniques. And we at Europapier, as paper merchants, are of course delighted to be part of VABF for the second time and have the chance to educate all art book lovers about the on-goings and new developments from the world of design papers – and hopefully offer some inspiration in the form of beutiful papers.

Vienna Art Book Fair #1 © © Joanna Pianka

The focus of the 2nd VABF is one of the art book as a democratic work of art

Marlene Obermayer, the organizer and founder of the non-profit association Das Kunstbuch, is very keen to make the event open to the public with free admission. For the second time, the Vienna Art Book Fair #2 offers a platform for artists, collectives, publishing houses, small publishers, antiquarian booksellers, libraries, institutions, bookbinders, paper manufacturers, printers, and all those committed to the medium of the book, to come together. The exhibition presents small editions of artists and art books that cannot be found in conventional bookstores. 

With around 135 tables, the exhibition will be the centerpiece of the Vienna Art Book Fair #2. National and international exhibitors from more than 25 countries will present their artists and photography books, art books, art zines, and indie magazines in the Aula and Auditorium of the Angewandte. 

Publishing as an artistic practice

Delphine Bedel, the founder of the publishing platform META/BOOKS, coined the term “publishing as artistic practice” as early as 2008. In interviews, she emphasized several times that distribution is the main problem that artists as well as independent publishers have to deal with nowadays, so art book fairs have become paramount places of distribution and exchange in recent years. Through the Vienna Art Book Fair #1 in 2019, a new standpoint for “publishing as artistic practice” has been created with the City of Vienna. 

Vienna Art Book Fair visual identity plays on negative space © Marlene Obermayer

The visual identity of the VABF is a play on the effect of the negative space of the format. The printed matter (flyer, poster) only features the title “Vienna Art Book Fair” and the additional “#2” for the second edition of the event. With incomplete information – the date, location, etc. missing – the printed matter leans in the direction of artistic interpretation instead of communication, blurring the boundary between the disciplines of design and fine art. The partial denial of purposeful information highlights the artistic viewpoint and manifests a hybrid that does justice to the omnipresent medium of an art book fair – paper. The identity references visual arts by means of incomplete communication of information, as well as expressing a formal abstract resemblance to the content of a book. Artist Ulrich Nausner is responsible for the visual identity concept,  while Denise Korenjak has done the flyer, poster and website design, and Astrid Seme Studio with David Gallo is responsible for the catalog. Once again, Munken Kristall from Arctic Paper was chosen for the inner pages of the catalog, which was realized on Mirror paper with silver gloss and printed at Medienfabrik.

A weekend full of haptic and visual experiences is in store at the VABF.  In addition to the exhibition, there will be an extensive supporting program that includes artist and photo book exhibitions curated by VABF, lectures, book presentations, readings, discussions, and performances. The opening of the VABF will be accompanied by the short animated film “Fabuli” by Austrian artist Renate Kordon. As a model for this, the artist used those drawings that she realized for the children’s book of the same name published in 1980. She is currently working on new sequences that will be premiered at VABF. 

Marlene Obermayer © C.MAVRIC

VABF Keynote & Talks

  • Keynote: Marc Fischer (Temporary Services/Half Letter Press, USA), On Book Waste.
  • Image Right. Your Image Your Right
  • Regina Anzenberger
  • Nikita Teryoshin and many more.

VABF Curation

Art and culture professionals are invited by Marlene Obermayer to curate exhibitions/artist books on the theme of “publishing as artistic practice”.

At the first Vienna Art Book Fair in 2019, we had the pleasure of working with Marlene Obermayer, a woman who approached the event wholeheartedly and with deep dedication. The passion for the topic and the people behind it, as well as the incredible drive to create a platform for art books in Vienna, immediately convinced us at Europapier to become a cooperation partner. Marlene’s intense passion made VABF #1 a complete success as 4,500 visitors scurried through the Angewandte, networking and finding inspiration. So the anticipation for the upcoming VABF #2 is huge. And there will be great books to buy again this year.

© – Joanna Pianka

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