When does a book become a work of art? The fourth edition of The Art Chapter, from 19 to 21 November at BASE Milano, asks this and other questions on editorial experimentation in the field of contemporary art

From Friday 19 to Sunday 21 November 2021, BASE Milan will host the fourth edition of The Art Chapter, the fair dedicated to research and editorial experimentation in the field of contemporary art.

Three days that bring together national and international publishers united by a single fil rouge, which is also a mission: that of creating and promoting works of art on paper. The book here is a collector's item, not a mere collection of information waiting to be documented. The Art Chapter - Milan art book fair is in fact a place - to all intents and purposes - where art and culture meet. And they express themselves in a multi-expressive exhibition, accompanied by a rich program of workshops, talks and signing copies.

Read also: “Return to the Charter”

The quality of the product

Representing the body of the event, a group of selected publishers from Italy as well as from other countries, united by a common denominator, this year analyzed with determination and precise selection, identifiable in the quality of the proposed product: starting from the type of paper used, to arrive at the printing technique, passing through the inserted graphics and the care for the binding. Just like you do in front of a piece of art.

The fourth date

The fourth edition, takes place during the collateral events Book City and Photo Vogue Festival, also already present in the city for several years, and takes shape from the agreement between two of the national (and international) reference points in terms of cultural promotion: BASE and Studio Boîte, who collaborate on the project for the fourth year.

What to expect from this year's appointment? Federica Boràgina and GiuliaBrivio, founders of Boîte Studio told us about it.

What does it mean to experiment in publishing today?

Publishing today is a multifaceted procedure: it is no longer “just” printing books or magazines. Basically, it means experimenting and researching: the book becomes a magical tool, a place for documentation but also a precious opportunity to investigate less known aspects of contemporary artistic research. The most interesting projects emerge from a intertwining of talents, from the dialogue of two different languages, the visual and the textual, from graphic creativity, from typographic expertise, from communicative initiative. A narrative plot that branches off from the book, but which does not end in the editorial object.

When does a book become a work of art?

The art book has an ancient history, linked to W. Blake and to S. Mallarmé, but it is starting from the avant-gardes of the early twentieth century that it begins to be perceived as work : the famous 'Bolted book' by Fortunato Depero , is in effect a book, but the binding is done with bolts. This aspect, associated with its content, makes it a work of art as a form of expression of Futurist poetics. A book is a work of art because it is chosen by artists as an opportunity to express their own poetics. A golden period for this kind of research was the sixties and seventies. But in the last decade we have noticed a regained interest, both on the part of many artists, including young ones, and on the part of institutions and the art market.

What shouldn't be missed in this edition?

The forced break year did not interrupt the synergy between BASE and Boîte, on the contrary it motivated us: we believe that there is a strong need to share and give visibility to creative fervor which inhabits the publishing world and often remains hidden. On the tables of the fair you will find research, creativity, typographical skill, graphic experimentation, intellectual resourcefulness, but also irony, playfulness, a good dose of recklessness and a lot of passion. Printing books, Ettore Sottssass said, is a good way to find your place in the world: The Art Chapter is a constellation of fascinating and unexpected editorial stories.

What is the future of publishing according to Boîte?

We are certain that Marshall McLuhan </ strong> was wrong when he said that the book would disappear from the face of the earth (in fact, to prove his thesis, he has written countless books, yes!). We believe that the book will continue to exist but, specifically art publishing will increasingly be a complementary place to artistic research and not mere documentation, favoring research projects in all respects, from the content to the typographic rendering, fully becoming a collector's item.

The exhibitors of the 4th edition

5X Letterpress, Anna Fennel Hughes, Anna Giuntini - Iroiroworld, Anna Maconi, Artphilein Editions, B.r.u.n.o, Boîte Editions, Bolo Paper, Chippendale Studio, Collettivo Franco, Culomiao, Dunes, FranZine_Milano, Humboldt Books, ILFILODIPARTENOPE, Leporello, Libri Finti Clandestini, LIBRI TASSO, Litostudio, Michela Palermo, Monoarte, Nodes, Officina Typo, PICA-cyanotype, Schiene Pelose, SelfSelf books, Silvia Mantellini Faieta, Spazienne, Subseri la stamperia sotterranea, TBD Ultramagazine, Tonini Editore, Frab's Magazines & More.

Useful information: tickets and timetables

The fourth edition of The Art Chapter takes place from 19 to November 21 2021, at BASE - Via Bergognone 34, Milan. Admission is free and can be accessed upon presentation of a valid green pass, by registering on Eventbrite.

The opening hours are:

  • Friday 19: from 18.00 to 22.00
  • Saturday 20: from 11.00 to 20.00
  • Sunday 21: from 11.00 to 19.00