Dublin Art Book Fair 2015

November 20, 2015 – Art, Literature

Dublin Art Book Fair 2015 at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios

Launch Wednesday 18th November – Running from the 19th – 22nd of November  

Having been very impressed by the Dublin Art Book Fair last year, I decided to ask Sophie Behal, the curator of the Book Fair, some questions. The Book Fair is supported by the Irish Year of Design and is part of VIEW, Temple Bar Arts and Politics weekend. At the launch the gallery was packed with people leafing through the wonderfully considered and crafted publications that are for sale. It is definitely worth a look in if you are wondering around Temple Bar this weekend. These beautiful books are brilliant ideas for Christmas presents.

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Róisín Can you tell me a little bit about your background and what excites you about the Dublin Art Book Fair?

Sophie I did a degree in Fine Art at the Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, graduating in 2012. Since then I have worked in different capacities with CCAD, CIT, Lismore Castle Arts, Pallas Projects, FLOOD Dublin and TBG+S. I have also continued my practice as a visual artist and curator.  I have always been interested in books and throughout my studies became very interested in the way that art is represented and disseminated through printed materials. When I was in second year in college in Crawford I stumbled upon the artists books section of the library where there was a huge collection of all different types of books. It was like finding a treasure trove and it was a way in which I had not previously considered making an artwork – the idea that a book can be an art work in itself.  I’m excited about bringing this realization to visitors to the Dublin Art Book Fair

R Why do you think it’s important to have an Art Book Fair in Ireland? Do you know where the idea of the initial Dublin Art Book Fair at TBG+S came from?

S It is very important to create an event where small art house and self-published books are celebrated and can be for sale. These publications often exist somewhat outside of the commercial bookshop world and it can be very difficult for the maker to find somewhere to show them and for the buyer to track them down too. The Dublin Art Book Fair is very important in the sense that it brings together all of this work that is sometimes quietly happening around the world and gives it a platform.

The initial idea for the Dublin Art Book Fair five years ago came from Jason Oakley, publications manager in Visual Artists Ireland who sadly passed away this year. He was a force of enthusiasm and knowledge and had been giving me great advice and encouragement for the book fair this year.

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R You were involved in curating last years art book fair, what’s the difference between this year and last year? Are there more publishers involved?

S This year we have partnered with the ID2015 year of design and are part on the VIEW – Temple Bar Arts and Politics weekend – both of which are very exciting developments for the fair! This has allowed us to lengthen the fair by one day and program lots more events. I have also commissioned artist Miranda Blennerhassett to create a new wall drawing that she will spend a week meticulously installing before the fair opens next Wednesday.

R What is your favorite book on sale at the fair?

S That is too difficult to answer but I have a certain love for Coracle’s quirky little books. Coracle press is two artists Erica Van Horn and Simon Cutts and they make beautiful often letterpress books in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. I love a little one called Tea about the strange social rituals around having some tea in Ireland.

R What is your favorite artist book on sale?

S Things to Consider – a tiny artists book by artist Lucy McKenna which features risograph prints and facts about the universe such as ‘ every atom in your body is billions of years old.’

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R There is a much bigger emphasis this year on the designed lay out of the fair because it is the Irish Year of Design. Can you tell me a little bit about the layout of the gallery, the pieces of furniture etc.?

S We are centering the fair around a circular table that will show all the artist’s books. The artists books are the highlight of the fair for me – offering such diversity and often humour. I also commissioned a Japanese style screen by artist Tom Lawton that is placed beside the artists books table. The screen will showcase a selection of the artists books. Miranda Blennerhasset has created an extensive wall painting specially for the b fair. She paints it all meticulously by hand. This piece is concerned with ideas about memory and our ability to forget. It features a repeat painted pattern and the same repeat pattern in a very delicate trace form. We will also be featuring work by two furniture designers who have recently graduated from DIT – Gildas O Laoire and Aoife Reynolds.

R Do you have a favorite book, in terms of how it is designed, and why?

S I think FUKT magazine for contemporary drawing is a super exciting publication that presents drawing in a new way.It is a magazine that concentrates on the visual and publishes interesting essays and the occasional interview. Each issue is newly designed. The latest issue’s cover is a beautifully playful manipulation of typography – incorporating some attached three dimensional elements to make up the title ‘Fukt’

R I have seen that New Dublin Press will have their book ‘Imagines’ at the fair, what other Irish publishers are involved in the fair?

S We have lots of Irish publishers involved in the fair – from art gallery publications to exciting new zines and beautifully bound books.

I’m excited to see Paper Visual Art’s new publication Blueprint which is a double publication and includes a sci – fi supplement which looks at he sci- fi turn in contemporary art. There are lots of very exciting zines being made in Ireland at the moment and we will be launching new editions of 1815 – a photography magazine and SET- an architecture zine at the fair.

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R There are many events on during the book fair, what one are you most looking forward to, and why?

S That is a difficult question to answer! I am very much looking forward to seeing Read That Image’s photobook making collaborative workshop on the Sunday and seeing the different photobooks produced by the end of the day. I’m also looking forward to New Dublin press speaking about their latest book Imagines, which is a real work of art and labour of love. There will be a recital of poetry from the book and an audio visual presentation with a recording  of

R Is there a particular kind of atmosphere or vibe you were hoping to create in the gallery? What is it?

S Yes I wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere in the gallery whilst keeping the emphasis on visual art and creating an interesting and meaningful methods to display the books.

The Market Kitchen will have a pop – up café in the gallery for the 4 days and will be serving up delicious drinks and treats – all made from produce sourced from different stalls of local growers and makers at the Temple Bar Market. Expect Bean and Goose hot chocolate, Intelligent tea and hot Llewlyn’s apple juice.

R Who else other than yourself has been involved in organising the Art Book Fair this year?

S The team at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios have been a huge help and inspiration to me in the organisation of the fair this year particularly Cliodhna Shaffrey , director and Rayne Booth, program curator. Angel Luiz Gonzales in the Library Project has an encyclopedic knowledge of book publishing and is always the first place I go for news on new publishers. Ciaran Doyle , intern at TBG+S has been a huge help to me in organizing all the books as they get sent in from all over the world. Dina Ryan and Roisin Bohan – staff at TBG+S have also been a great help to me. We will have some volunteers in over the course of the 4 days who will be invaluable in keeping the smooth running of the fair going!

For more information on opening times and information on the various events, visit: 


Words: Roisin Power Hackett

Runs until Sunday Nov 22nd 2015

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