By Foteini Vergidou.
The first Athens Art Book Fair launches this September in Athens. AABF, founded in 2019 by Margarita Athanasiou and Michalis Pichler, is the first initiative in Greece that deals exclusively with artistic publications. AABF is artist-run and aims to promote and support Greek production of printed matter, by bringing together and showcasing corresponding local and international publishing practices (analogue, digital and any medium in between).
AABF aims to introduce Athens as a new meeting point in the international community of publication artists, calling for publishers, zinesters, magazines, distributors and artists with an ongoing publishing practice to get together, learn from each other and highlight print as an artistic practice. The two-day event will include a series of presentations, performances, workshops and lectures in order not only to trigger a fruitful dialogue around the multifaceted nature of these practices, but also to support with theory the works that will be presented during the exhibition.
The first edition of AABF will take place on 7-8 September 2019 at Stoa Kairi in Athens, including Greek and international artists working with publications and printed matter.
Ferocious Urbanites met with Margarita Athanasiou, the co-founder of AABF for a quick chat about their upcoming project.
FU: How did you come up with the idea of an art book fair in Athens?
ΜΑ: It is something that was really missing from the city so you could say it was on the air, but I was personally very inspired by Eleanor Vonne Brown and Roland Brauchli who, as part of Text_Me_Lab program last winter, talked exactly about that, an art book fair here in Athens and what form could that take. I am an artist working with publications and have felt that, as these works often don’t have a platform, they tend to be invisible (even more so in the Greek context). For me, this project is driven by artistic urgency but also by a need to connect with and provide space for other publishing practitioners that work locally.
FU: What can we expect from the first edition of AABF?
MA: The first edition is about mapping out local publishing practices as well as introducing a selection of international publishing projects to a local audience. Expect to discover a lot of different ways artists and publishers are treating publishing as a practice in Greece, Brazil, Japan, Iran, North Macedonia, Hungary, Czech Republic and many other countries. There will also be an event program, with talks and presentations that aim to provide context for the diverse practices presented during the fair, with subjects ranging from feminist experimental writing, to zine cultures in the UK and to film poetry.
FU: Is there something that you are particularly looking forward to?
MA: I am mostly excited about seeing all these diverse practitioners and their works under the same roof. Most of our local exhibitors work independently of each other so I am looking forward to people getting acquainted with each other’s work and hope this will be the starting point for future friendships and collaborations.
FU: Athens is an international meeting point for artists and art practitioners and the communities that form towards every direction, become a powerful tool to exchange knowledge, support and ideas. What are your aspirations for AABF?
MA: Our aim is twofold: On a local scale, we want to help build a scene and to create visibility around publishing practices, which is why it is important for us to include a wide-range of exhibitors, from DIY zines to publication houses. On an international level, the AABF aims to put Athens on the map of the global art book fair routes.
FU: Any “must-see” events during the fair?
MA: Well, if I absolutely had to choose one event to talk about, Queer Ink will be organising a poetry slam extravaganza, where a selection of poets will perform their works, and it will definitely be a highlight!
FU: Free space for adding thoughts.
MA: We would like to thank our very generous hosts Haus n Athen, Metapolis and Jamie Peel for providing us with space in Kairi Arcade for our first instalment!
For more information about Athens Art Book Fair visit:
When: 7-8 September 2019
Where: Stoa Kairi, Kairi 6, 105 51 Athens, GR