Each year, Wiels plays host to art book fair PA/PER VIEW, an event that celebrates art books and art alike. The 5th edition of the fair is kicking off tonight, and in the run-up to the three-day book bash we had a chat with British-born, Brussels-based curator Frances Horn about why print is no longer dead.
Which three words best describe PA/PER VIEW?
Something for everyone.
Tell us why print is not dead.
People should just come to the fair and they will realise why. There are so many talented people coming from all kinds of corners making beautiful books.
How did the fair come to be?
It actually started out more as an experiment five years ago. We wanted to exhibit books in a more festive form. At the time I was getting invited to numerous small art book fairs and I realised that the phenomenon was growing and that there was a huge demand for this kind of event.
Why do you think that is?
There are so many talented people coming out of college who want to create things. Designers, artists, and also people with more manual jobs like book-binding. They want to create and show what they do. They need platforms like PA/PER VIEW, a fair-cum-exhibition, if you will. The only other alternative are book stores, and they are diminishing. Our concept was so successful that each year we also do a foreign edition; we’ve been to Italy, for example, and The Netherlands. We’re on a shoe-string budget, but it works.
Any novelties or innovations at this year’s edition?
We have a few new publishers, but I prefer not to single anyone out.
Three reasons why we should visit PA/PER VIEW?
Firstly, because we have quite a few new publishers on board, secondly because it’s always full of surprises and thirdly because the current exhibitions at Wiels are also worth seeing.
What’s your background? How did you become the curator for PA/PER VIEW?
I’m a photographer originally, but I also work for publishing house MER Paper Kunsthalle and as a freelance curator. I like to absorb images and text and keep an eye on what’s happening. I saw there was a yearning for this kind of book fair. My inspiration was the London fair ‘Publish And Be Damned‘. I recently met its organiser and we are really in the same boat, we do this out of our love for books and the obvious need for events like this.