Consonni, Bilbao’s independent publishing house and cultural centre, to take part in the international exhibition documenta 15

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


The independent publishing house and cultural space in Bilbao, consonni, will be taking part in the highly acclaimed international exhibition documenta 15, opening on 18 June in Kassel, Germany. This is the outcome of work carried out by the Etxepare Basque Institute within the framework of the ZABAL programme, whose aim is to develop international networks to promote and facilitate exchange and long-term collaboration between creators, professionals, stakeholders, and local and international institutions.

Documenta 15 is held every five years in Kassel, Germany. The curators of the international exhibition, the Indonesian collective ruangrupa, were invited to visit the Basque Country in February 2020. Ruangrupa visited the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, where they were presented with the documenta 15 project. They also visited the publishing house and cultural space consonni.

The discussions about collaboration that began then have now come to fruition in the shape of various projects. One of these is the exhibition guides, which consonni has produced and created the artwork for, working together with the publishing house Hatje Cantz. Consonni are also one of the editors of the book ´Lumbung Stories´, which reflects the nature of their work as publishers as well as the central idea around which this edition of documenta revolves – collective work.

Consonni participates in documenta from the confluence of art and literature, its raison d´être. Its director, María Mur Dean, feels that the work carried out this past year was particularly special. "The book we have created is a dream for us. Working with writers from so many countries, creating a multilingual project that is both collective and international, is very special," she said.

The book sets out to rethink the forms of publication in the art world, influence content, and reflect on the forms of production and distribution. In this sense, Mur considers that the show "expresses and even creates the trends of each period" and that through this project they will apply the idea of collective work that runs through this edition of documenta.

The literature project brought together international writers and created a network of independent publishers working together. In addition, literary fiction is used as a tool to convey the concepts that shape the exhibition.

The outcome of this project is an anthology, a book published simultaneously by eight publishers in seven languages: Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, German, English, Indonesian, Bahasa, and Basque. The Basque edition was produced by Txalaparta, and the Spanish version by consonni. Among the stories in the collection is one by Uxue Alberdi.

The consonni team, made up of Maria Macia, Dina Camorino, Marta Alonso, Munts Brunet, and Maria Mur Dean, will take part in various professional activities and roundtable discussions organised by documenta in July. From July 6 to 10 they will join the assembly of Lumbung publishers; on July 9 they will hold a public colloquium with consonni and the Indonesian publisher Marjin Kiri; on July 10, Idoia Zabaleta will present a reading of the book in Basque and Spanish, giving the project a voice and presence.

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