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Seven books you need to check out at the Room&Book ICA Art Book Fair

Posted at 10:00 am, June 5, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment, Shopping & Style

No e-reader can compete with the look, feel and even smell of a beautiful coffee-table volume. We got the scoop from book dealers on affordable future classics (and one splurge) to buy at Room&Book, the ICA’s art book fair opening this Friday to Sunday.

‘Daan van Golden Photo Book(s), edited by Emiliano Battista and Daan van Golden; texts by Emiliano Battista
(Koenig Books and Eccles Street Press, £56)

‘This book is composed of other books. The hallmarks of van Golden’s artistic practice are the reproduction of pre-existing material, the insistent adherence to a set of core elements, gestures and images and the conviction that creating different juxtapositions between those same elements will yield new readings and meaning. Here, for the first time, they serve as the organising principle for a book, one whose patient rhythm creates the space for the logic of a practice to establish its sensible presence. The book documents the way in which the images were used over the years and the aesthetic world they inhabit.’ Franz Koenig, Koenig Books.


‘On the Horizon’ by Kazuhiko Washio
(self-published, £12)
‘Many of the books at Claire de Rouen are self-published. Sometimes they’re produced in quite small numbers and, as a result, are only distributed to a handful of shops across the world. Some time in 2012, Japanese photographer Kazuhiko Washio brought in a copy of “On the Horizon” for me. Its format was modest – a softcover, staple-bound volume of only a handful of images, arranged on each page with an elegant simplicity. Though Washio’s photographs document the aftermath of a catastrophe – the earthquake and tsunami in T?hoku in 2011 – they respond to the subject without cliché. They’re also beautiful; an upturned car surrounded by fallen trees and matted bark on the ground becomes an unwitting monument; a mosaic depicting a whale amidst the waves testifies to Japan’s connection to the ocean.’ Lucy Moore, Claire de Rouen.


‘Within Habit’ by Oli Hazzard
(Test Centre, £12)
‘Oli Hazzard’s “Within Habit” interweaves 20 poems in a unique style. Untitled and unnumbered, they are presented in the shape of prose and form a circular sequence connected by fragments of repetition. Vertical lines mark divisions and connections between units, creating startling juxtapositions. The use of a large font, blue print and ample white space allow the design to enter into conversation with the text’s highly allusive, self-referential and visual approach. Fellow poet John Ashbery describes these poems as “exciting, necessary and new”, and we couldn’t agree more.’ Will Shutes and Jess Chandler, Test Centre.


‘Passengers’ by Dagmar Keller and Martin Wittwer
(Spector Books, £29.50)
‘Taken in Poland, these full-page portraits of commuters were shot late at night, through foggy, icy windows, lit by the yellow glow of the bus station. Faces lost in thought, tired and pensive, framed by warm winter coats pressed against the wet, cold glass. There is a particular beauty in the banality and a definitive painterly quality to the photographs that is reminiscent of Flemish portraiture. This book will become a collector’s gem for the quality of its production, its warm, rich dark colours and an exquisite blurring of the separation between photography and painting.’ Adeline Mannarini, Anagram Books.


‘Ultimate Clothing Company’ by Alasdair McLellan
(Alasdair McLellan with M/M Paris, £40)
‘Alasdair McLellan’s photographs capture the beauty of youth and of the landscapes of northern England. Blue eyes, rose skies and the shining smiles of boys full of promise are brilliantly packaged by M/M Paris in an edition of 2,000. You can practically hear The Smiths serenade the sunset. Carefully unwrap the poster jacket to find Jo-Ann Furniss’s hidden text.’ Jennifer Baker, Bookmarc. Alasdair McLellan will be signing copies of ‘Ultimate Clothing Company’ at 3pm on Sat Jun 7.


‘Gareth McConnell – Sex, Drugs & Magick (Book Two)’
(Sorika, £35)
‘“Sex, Drugs & Magick” contains a selection of Gareth McConnell’s photographs of Ibiza clubbers, captured in a hardened monochrome that strips away the whimsy associated with Balearic sunshine. The heavy crops and lo-fi print make for a more confrontational experience.’ Ben Freeman, Ditto Press.


‘I’m a Real Photographer’ by Keith Arnatt
(Chris Boot and The Photographers’ Gallery, £350)
‘In the late 1960s and early ’70s Keith Arnatt enjoyed a success as a conceptual artist, but in the mid-1970s he began to concentrate on photography. The book’s title derives from his conceptual work “Trouser-Word Piece” (1972) and also references a controversial interview with Alan Bowness, then the director of the Tate, published in the January 1982 issue of Creative Camera. Bowness stated that the Tate would only “collect photographs by artists and not photographs produced by photographers”. Arnatt published a response a few months later in which he argued that “making a distinction between, or opposing, artists and photographers is, it strikes me, like making a distinction between, or opposing, food and sausages – surely odd”. This signed copy of “I’m a Real Photographer” was inscribed by Arnatt to another British photographer, who has annotated the Post-it notes inside, and is offered together with the issue of Creative Camera that contains the interview. It will be valuable in the future because it serves as a link between two generations of British photography, at a time when photography still had to fight for acceptance.’ Oliver Wood, Oliver J Wood.

Find out more about Room&Book. Or add some literature to the rest of your weekend with at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival. 

Photography By Rob Greig.

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