Words by Richard Baird
Queremos Sonreír – Activar la Cultura Local (We want to smile – Activating local culture) brings together the voices of a variety of cultural agents–from citizen collectives and activists to artists and managers of cultural programmes–who are generating actions that intend to stimulate local culture, empower citizens, develop learning processes and further critical thinking. Through these voices the book explores questions around citizen participation and cultural practices, cultural activation and alternative ways of developing and accessing cultural capital.
The book is the result of a long research process led by Trànsit Projectes, who partnered with Mucho on the design of the project’s material form. Mucho worked on concept, design, and art direction with the the themes of cultural participation and visibility as central themes.Tthese manifest themselves by way of a striking use of colour and type, and book jacket that folds out and channels the provocative visual language of protest banners with the exclamation, queremos sonreír, or we want to smile.
Opinion by Richard Baird.
Albert Oehlen is a German contemporary artist. Working with canvas, he brings together a bricolage of figurative, collaged, abstract and computer-generated elements, with a particular focus on process and self-imposed parameters such as limited colour palettes. His work, as described by the Serpentine Galleries, currently running a Oehlen solo exhibition till February 2020, engages with the history of painting through Expressionist brushwork, Surrealist gestures and deliberate amateurism, and pushes the essential components of colour, gesture, motion and time in fresh new directions. This spirit of bold gestures, layers and new approaches is captured within a slender, unbound artist book designed by London-based Zak Group. This functions as an extension of the exhibition.
Opinion by Richard Baird
Origen México is a encyclopaedic collection of cultural reference points from Mexico, and an expression of love for its land and identity, edited by Ámbar Editores and Paola Gonzalez Vargas. Written in Spanish it covers things such as, Barro negro pottery; the black clay pottery of Oaxaca, Barrancas del Cobre; the six canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental and individuals such as pioneering filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. In its breadth the book has a temporality; a relationship with time. One idea, place, person, piece of pottery or art directly or indirectly informs the another. Layers are built. The present is founded on, but would ultimately find it hard to recognise, all of the past, except that which immediately proceeded it. This is expressed through the materiality of the book, designed by Canadian studio Blok, using a light copy paper and show-through, the relationships and continuity formed with a consistent image treatment and the codifying visual language of consistent type, layout and an encyclopaedic format.