Since 2013, Isla de Ediciones has been a valued part of arteBA. With the unwavering support of Fundación Proa and additional help from Ternium and Federico Churba, this section is a platform dedicated to publications, a fundamental aspect of contemporary art. The aim of Isla de Ediciones is not only to provide the public with access to the work of publishing houses, printers, distributors, artists, graphic designers, and thinkers, but also to build networks between actors and to create an intellectual sounding board within the fair. This year, like every year, a guest curator has been invited to coordinate the space and to select publications. The curator for the 2019 edition is Agustín Diez Fischer, director of Fundación Espigas. The novelty in this edition, then, lies in the participation of the largest archive of Argentine and Latin American art in the world in a contemporary art fair. “The universes of the archive and of an art fair may, at first, seem incompatible. One is dedicated to current art and the dynamic market with the fast pace that entails, and the other to documentation of cultural patrimony and the slow time of cataloguing. That stereotype quickly withers away, though, in the face of the many crossovers between contemporary art and archive,” explains the section’s curatorial text. Three central notions will steer all of Isla de Ediciones’ activities and international invitations this year. The first is regional ties in a global scene, with a focus on establishing South-South dialogue between Asia, Africa, and Latin America. To that end, two institutions that work with archives have been invited to this section of the fair: the Asian Art Archive based in Hong Kong, and Chimurenga based in South Africa. As Diez Fischer explains, “These are not only publishing houses, but also focal points of research, archival work, and transnational cultural ties. We envision Isla not only, then, as a place to establish ties with other publishing houses, but also as a platform to explore other geographies for the sake of an art history that builds bridges with Asia and Africa.”
The second cornerstone is conservation and accessibility: a copy of every publication included in the fair will, after its closing, be available to researchers, students, and other interested parties at Espigas’s public archive. The third organizing notion is digital publications.
Isla de Ediciones will include a bookstore area featuring contemporary art publications, a browsing table with books by independent presses (this part of Isla will be coordinated by Pulso – Panorama de publicaciones independientes), and an auditorium in which books on Liliana Porter and Batato Barea, among others, will be presented, and lectures and public conversations held on art writing, digital publications, archival publications, and other relevant topics. This year, Isla de Ediciones will also include a curated mural of digital contents that visitors can download free of charge.