public program

curated by Francesca Valentini
14.00 / 15.30
presentation of the exhibition at Palazzo Cisterna

Lettura per Voci e Silenzio (Reading for Voices and Silence)

Francesco Arena, Luca Bertolo, Maria Morganti in conversation with Elena Volpato.

Francesco Arena, Luca Bertolo and Maria Morganti, three of the artists featured in the group show Lettura per Voci e Silenzio (Palazzo Cisterna, 3-5 November 2017) converse with the exhibition curator, Elena Volpato discussing the “space” of the book and its importance in their work, as well as the importance of the element of silence within their artwork.


16.00 / 17.30
book presentation and video screenings

From Static Oblivion – Ion Grigorescu

Giuliana Prucca (publisher and founder of Avarie, Paris) in conversation with Eleonora Farina (curator and art historian, founder of Peninsula, Berlin); screening of Ion Grigorescu’s video Masculin-Feminin, 1976 (8mm, b/w, 12’59’’); Trap Trap de potcoave, 1975 (16mm, b/w, 2’23’’); Box, 1977 (8mm, b/w, 2’13’’); Balta Alba, 1979 (8mm, b/w and color, 7’52’’); Féerie, 1978 (8mm, b/w and color, 4’29’’); live soundtrack by Andrea Marini (SabaSaba, Torino), with the recorded voices of Ion Grigorescu and Marc Schroeder.

Ion Grigorescu (Bucarest, 1945; lives and works in Bucarest) is one of the most significant Romanian artists of the post-war period and an icon of performance and conceptual art since the early ‘70s. In Grigorescu’s work, as in the book From Static Oblivion – Ion Grigorescu (Paris: Avarie, 2016), the body is constantly revealed in many ways—from photography to film, from performance to drawing—yet it remains absent. During the Ceaușescu Regime (1965-1989), in the impossibility of performing in front of an audience, the body disappears in the image. Focusing on Grigorescu’s extensive artistic production, From Static Oblivion discusses, displays and reflects upon the status of the images he created: a balance of strained forces, the trace of something that is constantly moving, a form of the artist’s existence (and resistance) within (or against) every geographical and historical context, and ultimately the tool of a subversive power.

Giuliana Prucca, publisher and founder of Avarie, discusses the creative outset of the book, its nature and its qualities, as well as the complexity of Grigorescu’s work; she does so in conversation with art historian Elisa Farina, specialist of experimental film and video art in Romania before 1993, the year marking the beginning of the country’s integration within the political and economic structure of the European Community. Accompanying the presentation are some films by Grigorescu, with a live soundtrack by musician Andrea Marini and with the recording of Ion Grigorescu’s and Marc Schroeder’s voices.

17.30 / 18.30
book launch and signing

Notes from the Playground

Richard Flood (Director of Special Projects and Curator at Large at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York) in conversation with artist Elisa Sighicelli

Richard Flood talks with artist and friend Elisa Sighicelli about his new book Notes from the Playground (London: Ridinghouse, 2017). It is a collection of thirty essays that Flood has written throughout his 40-year long experience in the art world. Flood’s writing expresses his ability in using art criticism, theory and autobiography to convey a deeper and intimate understanding of contemporary art practices and of the work by artists (Paul Thek, Robert Gober and many others) he has collaborated with.

18.30 / 20.00
round table

The Bolted Book Facsimile: An Exact Copy of Depero Futurista (2017)

Speakers: Nicoletta Boschiero (Manager of the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero, MaRT, Rovereto); Liliana Dematteis (Curator of artists’ books and collector); Heather Ewing (Executive Director Center for Italian Modern Art, New York); Ken Soehner (Chief Librarian Thomas J. Watson Library | The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

This round table discussion celebrates the publishing of a new facsimile edition of Depero Futurista, (also known as “the Bolted Book”), Fortunato Depero’s 1927 masterpiece of graphic design and avant-garde bookmaking. The project is a collaboration between the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York, the website Designers & Books, the Mart, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto. The book, which was published with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, is accompanied by a reader’s guide featuring scholarly essays, documents from the Depero archives at Mart, and a series of translated and annotated pages from the book.

12.30 / 13.30
Presentation of the FLAT Prize 2017
13.30 / 14.30
book presentation with performance

The Joke Book. Collected by Seth Siegelaub

with artist David Bernstein

Have you heard the one about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson going camping? They pitch their tent under the stars and go to sleep. In the middle of the night Holmes wakes Watson up: “Watson, look up at the stars, and tell me what you deduce.” Watson: “I see millions of stars and even if a few of those have planets, it’s quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life.”  Holmes: “Watson, you idiot, somebody’s stolen our tent!”
David Bernstein reads a selection from The Joke Book. Collected by Seth Siegelaub (Amsterdam: Kunstverein, 2017). The book presents a collection of jokes and messages (slightly edited for publication) as collected by Seth Siegelaub (New York 1941-Basel 2013) and found on his computer by his companion Marja Bloem. In 1999 Siegelaub had started saving jokes, quotes and pieces of advice that he would regularly share with his friends. The Joke Book highlights one yet unexplored aspect of the protean personality of the universally renown gallerist, curator, publisher, researcher, archivist, bibliographer, and collector.

14.30 / 16.00

Artists, Books and Book Fairs

Max Schumann (Executive Director of Printed Matter Inc., New York) in conversation with David Senior (Head of Library and Archives, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – SFMOMA).

Printed Matter is a New York-based non-profit organization that has supported artists’ publications for over 40 years. It plays a decisive role in nurturing an international community of artists, designers, and writers through the distribution of books as well as through regular public exhibitions and programming in their space. Another important component of Printed Matter’s program is the New York And Los Angeles Art Book Fairs. These fairs have become an essential gathering spot for Printed Matter’s broad audience and a place where an international community of artists/publishers can see themselves. Max Schumann and David Senior will discuss the current conditions of artists’ publishing practices in contemporary art and the role of the art book fairs in fostering distribution networks for this thriving and expanded field of publishing.

16.00 / 17.30
talk and workshop

Learning from Bayt-al Hikma (House of Wisdom)

Collective Çukurcuma, Istanbul (Naz Cuguoğlu, Mine Kaplangi)

Focusing on and experimenting with different modes of collaborative thinking, the publishing work and curatorial projects of Collective Çukurcuma explore the power of books and libraries. This is carried out through reading group meetings and cross-national collaborations. For the first edition of FLAT, Çukurcuma has organized a workshop that includes a presentation of its latest exhibition House of Wisdom (Bayt-al Hikma), followed by a reading and a collective discussion.
Inspired by the library of the same name founded in Baghdad at the beginning of the 8th century, House of Wisdom investigates the political relevance of books and libraries. The exhibit was first inaugurated in Berlin in 2016 and then traveled to the İKSV Nejat Eczacıbaşı Building for the 15th Istanbul Biennial (where it runs until November 12, 2017). Moreover, from 2 to 12 November 2017, echoes of the House of Wisdom exhibit can be found at nH Hotel in Piazza Carlina showcasing reproductions of the book covers on show in Istanbul. The Reading Groups proposed by the Collective Çukurcuma allow to actually experience the concept of public space. The moment of dialogue organized for FLAT will focus on texts that look into the relevance of libraries and archives in the 21st century, as well as on their revolutionary potential.

The workshop is open, but limited to 25 participants. To register and receive the English texts that will be discussed please e-mail:
17.30 / 18.30
book launch and signing

Mystery and Truth of Pasolini’s Bodies and Places

Benedikt Reichenbach (editor and graphic designer, Berlin) in conversation with Davide Fornari (ECAL, École cantonale d’art de Lausanne, Lausanne)

Around 1980 in Rome, the two film critics Michele Mancini and Giuseppe Perrella produced Pier Paolo Pasolini: Corpi e Luoghi, a 600-page book full of images from all of Pasolini’s films, organized in a labyrinth of “bodies” and “places” (Rome: Theorema, 1981/1982). Reviews of the time praised it as “the most Pasolinian publication of to date” (Alberto Farrasino); as “an indispensable tool for future research on Pasolini” (Tullio Kezich); “not just an illustrated book, but a unique model of critique” (Adriano Aprà). Long forgotten and out of print, it is now available again in a new, quasi-facsimile English edition (includes Italian original text) by Benedikt Reichenbach (Zürich: Edition Patrick Frey, 2017). The book activates a vast archive of images, as an exercise of Pasolinian filmmaking: as a space where conflicts can be looked at and negotiated. In conversation with Davide Fornari from ECAL in Lausanne, Benedikt Reichenbach will present the book and retrace the story of its publication, underlining its artistic, cultural, and scientific relevance today.

18.30 / 20

Il Disco come Medium Artistico  (Records as Artistic Medium)

Francesco Spampinato (historian of contemporary art and visual culture, Bologna)

Just like books, records too are more and more often utilized by visual artists to develop far-reaching alternative forms of cultural production. The idea is to attract new audiences, establishing a more direct communication, and experimenting with a new way of distributing art and ideas, separate from institutions and the market. Francesco Spampinato’s latest books focus on records as a means of artistic expression: Can You Hear Me? Music Labels by Visual Artists (Eindhoven: Onomatopee, 2015) and Art Record Covers (Köln: TASCHEN, 2017). In his talk, Spampinato will trace the history of the relationship between visual art production and the phonographic medium, exploring the phenomenon of artists’ records, the collaborations between artists and musicians, the record labels founded by artists, and record covers that are a hybrid work of art, design, and marketing.

21.30 / 22.30
music/image selection

Art Takes Over Music: a music/image selection

curated by Francesco Spampinato

Francesco Spampinato, historian of contemporary art and its connections with media, presents a music selection from artists’ records. Each track is associated with images of the record cover, photographs of the artists at work, and much more. An hour of  music and images that is a direct extension of the talk by Spampinato (Il Disco come Medium Artistico, FLAT, 4 November 2017, 6.30pm-8pm) but can also be enjoyed as a moment of music and visual images, independently of the afternoon meeting.

10.30 / 11.30
video screening

On An Iron Post: A Screening of Video Works by Simone Forti

The screening includes Forti’s Bennington News Reel, 2003 (color, sound, 11’33’’); Getty News Animation, 2004 (color, sound, 9’34’’); Flag in the Water, 2015 (color, sound, 19’07’’)

On An Iron Post: A Screening of Video Works by Simone Forti celebrates the publication of the book On An Iron Post (Los Angeles: Hesse Press, 2017), entirely dedicated to the work of the Italian American artist, dancer, choreographer, and author. The images featured in On An Iron Post are taken from Forti’s 2015 solo exhibition at The Box in LA. Similarly to the works in that show, the pages in the book follow one another, accumulating “like a day of experiences with different energies: abrasive, lyrical, pedestrian” (Simone Forti) and adding complexity to the artist’s work – without restricting it to any particular meaning or preset interpretation. There are also images from the video Flag in the Water, images of a steel sculpture originally sketched in a notebook way back in 1961, and even images of a small painting of a sink. On the occasion of the European premiere of the book, Hesse Press will present three of Simone Forti’s video works: Bennington News Reel, 2003; Getty News Animation, 2004; Flag in the Water, 2015.


11.30 / 13.00
talk and video screening


Guy Schraenen (curator, publisher, collector, scholar, author, and advisor, Paris); included in the talk program is the screening of a video work by Ulises Carrión Bookworks Revisited. Part 1: A Selection, 1987 (color, audio, 36’ 33’’)

Starting from his personal experience as gallerist, filmmaker, archivist, curator, and author in the multi-faceted world of artists’ books, Schraenen talks about his friendship and collaboration with Ulises Carrión (San Andrés Tuxtla, Mexico, 1941 – Amsterdam, 1989). Carrión, author of the renowned The New Art of Making Books (1975) was an Amsterdam based artist, publisher, curator, and theorist of the post-Sixties generation. At FLAT, Schraenen addresses the multi-faceted complexity of Ulises Carrión’s work, which includes not only literature, videos, theoretical essays, curatorial projects and actions in public spaces, but also the co-founding of the independent artist-run space In-Out Center, as well as the founding of the legendary bookshop-gallery Other Books and So: the first space of its kind to be entirely dedicated to artists’ publications. Guy Schraenen also explores Carrión’s approach to poetry as opposed to a more classic academic approach, closing the talk with the presentation of Carrión’s video Bookworks Revisited. Part 1: A Selection, 1987.

14.30 / 15.30
magazine presentation

GAGARIN: the artists in their own words (2000-2017)

with Wilfried Huet (founder and editor of GAGARIN, Antwerp) and artist Petrit Halilaj

It was in the year 2000 that Wilfried Huet founded in Antwerp the independent magazine GAGARIN: a unique project devoted to publishing texts written by contemporary artists from all over the world. Its scope is to present art and ideas before they get interpreted, accepted, historicized— to print artists’ texts without any filters. Their contributions are published in their original language and alphabetical writing, with added English translation. All images are banished. GAGARIN has recently reached its 33rd issue, thus completing the limited series originally conceived by its founder and editor. For the occasion, the 33 volumes have been grouped in a collection box. At FLAT Huet will recall the origins of GAGARIN, the vision behind the magazine, and the story of this adventurous publishing project. With him, Petrit Halilaj will reflect upon the artistic needs that have led him to face the concept and format of GAGARIN, and he will also read his own contribution, which turned out to be a pivotal one for his art.

16.00 / 17.30


Irma Boom (book maker, Amsterdam)

Irma Boom (1960) is a book maker. She not only designs books but also works as editor. She has created over 300 books and her artistic autonomy has gained international recognition. With her bold experimental approach and vision, she challenges the convention of the traditional book as object, medium, and tool, both in its design and its content. Since 1992, Boom has been a senior critic at Yale University and she regularly holds lectures and workshops across the world. Boom’s books have been included in the permanent collection of museums such as MoMA, New York, the Art Insitute of Chicago, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam host her complete body of work and her archives in the Irma Boom – Living Archive. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her book designs and was the youngest laureate ever to receive for her oeuvre the prestigious Gutenberg prize. In 2014 Boom received the Johannes Vermeer Award (the Dutch State Prize for the Arts) from the Minister of Education, Culture, and Science. The jury unanimously chose Boom for her outstanding achievements in the field of graphic design. For FLAT Irma Boom will share her story and that of her work, showing some of her most visionary and significant projects.


Lettura per voci e silenzio

curated by Elena Volpato
Palazzo Cisterna
November 3 – 5, 2017

This exhibit is devoted to the liturgy of reading, intended both as an inner space and as a public space, an act of sharing. It evokes the dual birth—sound and visual—of a written page: in ancient times, reading was mostly intended as the social sharing of a text, it meant reading out loud in front of an audience, whereas later on, reading became what St. Augustine vividly described in his Confessions, in the passage where he marvels at seeing St Ambrose totally absorbed in his private inner space, silently studying with sealed lips: “his eyes scanned the page and his heart sought out the meaning”.
Some works, disseminated among the publishers’ desks in the Fair, allow visitors to listen to the voices of artists and performers reading various texts in front of the camera. They are the videos by John Baldessari, Three Feathers and Other Fairy Tales, by Martha Rosler, Martha Rosler Reads “Vogue”, a work by Karl Holmqvist, I’m with you in Rockland and the choral work by Concetta Modica, In pasto al presente #3.
In a separate, secluded area, is a series of small rooms hosting about thirty works, creating an island of quietness where the space of the page and the countless shapes of the books imagined by the artists will be allowed to disclose their silence. Visitors will plunge into the perceptive infinity of Romanzo blu by Irma Blank; they will stand in front of a small block of white chalk, silent and dense, on which Paolo Icaro has inscribed the word Racconto (Tale); they will consider the endless imaginary pages and volumes adding up on Giulio Paolini’s canvases; they will read the white transparency in between words where Sabrina Mezzaqui has rewritten Karen Blixen’s The Blank Page: and finally, in the volume Universum by Maurizio Nannucci, they will contemplate an elliptic closing within itself, with two opposite bindings wrapping a book into a closed volume, into a hermetic microcosmos—the image of a “book-world”, and of a world that throughout the ages cyclically appears to men as a silent book waiting to be read.
The exhibition comes to its end with some of the latest research carried out around the book by artists such as Francesco Arena, Maria Morganti, Luca Bertolo and Alessandra Spranzi.

Artists exhibiting: Giovanni Anselmo, Francesco Arena, John Baldessari, Massimo Bartolini, Luca Bertolo, Irma Blank, Alejandro Cesarco, Marco Gastini, Karl Holmqvist, Paolo Icaro, Emilio Isgrò, James Lee Byars, Piero Manzoni, Amedeo Martegani, Eliseo Mattiacci, Sabrina Mezzaqui, Concetta Modica, Maria Morganti, Maurizio Nannucci, Giulio Paolini, Francesco Pedraglio, Martha Rosler, Ettore Spalletti, Alessandra Spranzi, Franco Vaccari, Grazia Varisco, William Xerra.

Ettore Sottsass. Le pagine

Curated by Elena Volpato
Palazzo Birago
November 3 – 12, 2017

The exhibition “Ettore Sottsass. Le pagine” celebrates the centennial of Sottsass’s birth and the unlimited creativity of an artist who, more than others, truly expressed himself through books and magazines, each time reinventing the shape, the meaning, and the function of the printed page. The display will offer visitors a chance to see the entire production of Sottsass’s books, periodicals and pamphlets: from the epic stenciled copies of Room East 128. Chronicle dated 1962, to the catalogs for the Memphis Group, from magazines, such as Pianeta Fresco, to visual essays, from the lithographic and photographic books, to the calligraphy practice of Kena Upaniᶊad. All his publications were interspersed in time with the series of new year cards and augural prints that Sottsass and his associates mailed every year, also on view.
Sottsass always proved himself capable of creating some different form, be it the most basic slip of paper or the most complex editorial designs. He shaped the pages anew, based on his original thinking and on the meaning to be delivered, in order to find, and hand over to the reader, a true reciprocation between meaning and form, between expressing the lettering and the page layout and expressing himself, his own personality—which meant expressing what his mind created each time, through a constant life practice, looking and researching the world, ultimately conveying his indefatigable reading of the world.
Books, magazines, and pamphlets are displayed one next to the other, following the natural flow of time and the unfolding of the author’s life thus revealing how, in this amazing heap of publications, in this inexhaustible imagination inspired by fascinations, chances, shapes and colors, the common trait, the true fil rouge, is Sottsass’s reverberating individuality, as he responded with a new music to life’s encounters. Encounters which he was constantly seeking, be it people, cultures, places, materials or artworks.

Book signing

Délio Jasse

signs Cidade em movimento

(Lugano: Artphilein Editions, 2017)

Richard Flood

signs Notes from the Playground

(London: Ridinghouse, 2017)

17.00 / 18.30
Ezio Gribaudo

signs Victoria Surliuga, Ezio Gribaudo. Il mio Pinocchio

(Pistoia: Gli Ori, 2017)

17.00 / 19.00
Federico Cavallini

signs Much Less than Useless

(Milano: Kunstverein Publishing Milano, 2017)

17.00 / 19.00
Andrew James Paterson

signs Collection / Correction

(Milano: Kunstverein Publishing Toronto; Mousse Publishing, 2017)

Benedikt Reichenbach

signs Pasolini Bodies and Places. Edited by Michele Mancini and Giuseppe Perrella

(Zürich: Edition Patrick Frey, 2017)

15.30 / 16.30
Pier Tancredi De-Coll’

signs Pier Tancredi De-Coll’, ed. Federico Audisio Di Somma

(Pistoia: Gli Ori 2017)

Domenico Scarano

signs Border[line]

(Lugano: Artphilein Editions, 2017)


Please note that the book signings will take place at the publishers’ table