Friends with Books features over 200 artists and publishers, 12 public programmes and 6 art installations, including new commissions.

September 21–22, 2019

Preview: Friday, September 20, 6–8 PM

Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart Berlin  | Free entry

Alias art publications, 2019 ; courtesy Friends with Books, Berlin.

Alias art publications, 2019 ; courtesy Friends with Books, Berlin.

September 6, 2019 (Berlin) – Opening on September 20, Friends with Books: Art Book Fair Berlin, Europe’s leading art book fair committed to the distribution and promotion of artists’ books and associated mediums, launches its sixth edition in the iconic Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart Berlin. From September 20–22, 2019, over 200 international exhibitors, ranging from artists to art publishers, will present their publications, reflecting the diversity of today’s art publishing. Free and open to the public, the fair explores all facettes of contemporary art publishing through an engaging programme of lectures, panel discussions, book presentations, performances and art installations, bringing understanding to the discipline and celebrating its resurgence in today’s digital climate.

Exhibitors at Friends with Books will feature contemporary art publications including artists’ books, artist zines, digital publications, limited editions, magazines, conceptual publications, photography publications, textual works and artists’ writings, art theory and criticism, as well as books printed spontaneously on location. Many of these art publications are not widely available or distributed, and may be self-published by artists or in small editions.

Friends with Books 2019 Highlights

For its sixth edition, Friends With Books welcomes for the first time ARTPHILEIN EDITIONS, Lugano; Little Steidl, Göttingen; Ann Noël, Berlin; among others.

Programmes include conversations and presentations with artists such as Erik Göngrich, Marlena Kudlicka, Nanne Meyer, Tamami Iinuma, Caio Reisewitz, and Florian Wüst.

Performances include the artist collective Black Palm and artists Mette Edvardsen, Jeroen Peeters and Lara Salmon

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The Friends with Books Blog interview features artist Elisabeth Tonnard in conversation with art critic Agnieszka Gratza.

German artist Anne Schwalbe created the annual Friends with Books Artist Poster Edition, titled Wasser, 2019, made from recent photographs of grass taken in Japan. Observing the lines and patterns in nature, Schwalbe photographs her surroundings intuitively. With no reference to location or other narrative aspects, she departs from landscapes into the abstract, thereby allowing her work to become the lines of a poem. Schwalbe is a regular columnist for Zeit Magazin.

The 2019 edition will host a series of curated temporary Art Installations in dialogue with artists’ books and art publications and printed ephemera including:

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Japanese artist Tamami Iinuma’s Piece of colonne, Fragment of waves, 2018-19, is an interactive installation with 36 unique artist books of photographs where abstract images appear and disappear meditatively as the pages are turned, recalling the continuously ebbing and flowing of waves or the ‘breath of architecture’. 

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Dutch artist Mathilde ter Heijne’s Woman To Go is an ongoing project and archive, featured as an installation of postcard racks holding free postcards with the portrait and biography of an unknown woman who was influential or extraordinary in her time. 

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German artist Kathrin Köster’s installation is comprised of two sculptural works, The hammy stage dive, 2018, and newly commissioned legerdemain, 2019, in connection with her new artist book, ex plica, 2019. Constructed with multi-layered fabric and paper upon supporting structures, her works explore how these materials express their own sense of theatricality and movement.

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Polish artist Marlena Kudlicka’s installation includes a sculpture and work on paper, both titled unprotected 0 fig. 120°, 2015. Reflecting her interest in Constructivism, Kudlicka focuses on semantic and spatial relations between function, language, structure, contour, shape, and system. A new limited edition commissioned poster velvet mind marble thoughts, 2019, is available for free to the public.

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Icelandic artist Egil Sæbjörnsson’s Ugh & Boogar’s Book Corner, 2019 is a newly commissioned installation where children and parents create stories together. The trolls, Ugh and Boogar, encourage fantasy and invention. Sæbjörnsson has created two artist’s books about the trolls’ adventures, When Egill met the Trolls and took them to Venice, 2017, and The Trolls in Hellsinki, 2019.

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Czech artist Rudolf Samohejl’s ‘sculptural situation’ features two new works, Life Table, 2019, a sculpture and working ping-pong table, and Rib Cage, 2019. Intended to be shown in public space, his work is activated through unpredictability in an effort to disrupt our everyday habits. Also on view is his newly commissioned artist book Plane Dreams, 2019, a graphic novel.


The Alias reading area features books published by Alias, an independent editorial project based in Mexico City established by Mexican artist Damián Ortega. Alias translates and publishes texts previously not available in Spanish that it considers to be valuable contemporary art references.

Special Thanks: Udo Kittelmann, Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Dr. Gabriele Knapstein, Dr. Nina Schallenberg, Fiona Geuss, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin; Gaby Horn, KW Institute for Contemporary Art; Barbara Wien; Dr. Michael Lailach, Kunstbibliothek Berlin; Claus Due, Studio Claus Due; Virginia Illner, Medialis Druck.

Support: Friends with Books is generously supported in part by Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.