After Roma Publications and Castillo Corrales, the third exhibition in the “Published by” series is organised by the London-based collective Åbäke. Under the title Published by De Vleeshal, Åbäke creates a dialogue between various locations of books in the town of Middelburg. Apart from De Vleeshal itself, the exhibition sites are the Province of Zeeland library, the bookshop De Drvkkery and the second-hand bookshop De Boekenbeurs. Åbäke investigates the social dynamics of books – the places where they can be borrowed, purchased, repurchased or looked at, as well as the stories contained in them and the links they create between people. The aim is to discover the collective dimension of books, at the threshold between the private and public spheres. In The Sign of the Vandal, for instance, Åbäke borrows books from the library and arranges for their authors to autograph them. Thus personalised by their authors, the books are then returned to the library shelves. Books are a means of exchanging ideas, creating new perspectives and new spaces, constructing means of communication and moments of reflection. They are not just objects, but vehicles for creating new spaces.
The purpose of the Published by exhibition series is to reveal the potential of publications in relation to curatorial, artistic and graphic practice. The exhibition area, the place and the dynamics of books are brought together to highlight the continuity between exhibitions and books. This series of curatorial projects shows just how narrow the boundary between exhibitions and publications is becoming.
Åbäke is a collective of four graphic designers – Patrick Lacey from the UK, Kajsa Ståhl from Sweden, Benjamin Reichen and Maki Suzuki from France – who decided to work together in the summer of 2000. Their physical work includes posters, CD and record designs, furniture, and installations in art galleries and public spaces. Much of their work concentrates on the social aspect of design and the strength that collaboration can bring to a project. Events often involve (in no particular order) film, dancing, eating and cooking and teaching. They are also singers, painters, photographers, members of bands, furniture designers, curators, fashion designers, DJs and teachers.