On Tuesday 2 May we celebrated the launch of Kathrin Böhm: Art on the Scale of Life; edited by Gerrie van Noord, Paul O'Neill and Mick Wilson, and realised through a collaboration between The Showroom, PUBLICS, Helsinki and the University of Gothenburg. Co-published with Sternberg Press, the book provides a comprehensive overview of Kathrin Böhm’s multifaceted, deeply collaborative and durational practice. Combining visual and textual material, it offers an overview of Böhm's exceptional modus operandi.
Kathrin Böhm: Art on the Scale of Life brings together critical dialogue and reflection by internationally acclaimed contributors including: Dave Beech, Céline Condorelli, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Wapke Feenstra, Katherine Gibson, Joon-Lynn Goh, Lily Hall, Yolande Zola Zoli van der Heide, Grace Ndiritu, Gerrie van Noord, Paul O’Neill, Doina Petrescu, Gregory Sholette and THEMM!!, Kuba Szreder, Gavin Wade, Mick Wilson, Stephen Wright, and Franciska Zólyom.
Since the mid 1990s Böhm has expanded the terms of socially engaged ways of working to an unprecedented scale and breadth by co-producing complex spatial, visual and economic forms. These often entail the production and ongoing re-production of organisational infrastructures, manifested in collective identities such as Myvillages (since 2003) and Public Works (active 1999–2012), or via projects such as The Centre for Plausible Economies (since 2018), Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks (since 2014) and the Rural School of Economics (since 2010 the Eco Nomadic School).
Photographic, diagrammatic and typographic imagery run through the book, demonstrating the confident, joyful visual and spatial languages embedded in Böhm's work. The visual register of the book is therefore much more than a series of illustrations and acts as a counterpoint to and extension of the ideas elaborated in the texts. The book is designed by the innovative design studio An Endless Supply, who have been collaborating with Böhm across various projects since Trade Show at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, in 2013.
The book follows in the wake of a major collaborative exhibition that explored over twenty years of Kathrin Böhm's practice across two phases at The Showroom in 2021, COMPOST. Kathrin Böhm: Turning the Heap and COMPOST: For Future Use. These enabled a public process of sieving through, assessing, archiving and reformulating Böhm’s practice by making use of her methods of production – working one-to-one, collaboratively and in public – to distil tactics, tools, concepts and strategies that continue to serve a socially transformative art practice. Art on the Scale of Life emerges as a key outcome of this process and offers a significant addition to debates on contemporary art and architecture, social action and public culture.
Kathrin Böhm is an artist based in London. Her book Art on the Scale of Life critically profiles, contextualises, and theoretically elaborates the artist's work, offering an overview of her exceptional practice, which is rooted in a highly original artistic synthesis of a range of concerns and approaches. The artist has expanded the terms of socially engaged ways of working by producing innovative organizational, spatial, visual, and economic forms, which often entail the production of complex infrastructures.
Gerrie van Noord is an editor/curator of publications and an educator. She is interested in publishing as an environment for the articulation of and critical reflection on creative practices and has worked on a wide range of publishing projects, ranging from artists’ books to catalogues, and from critical anthologies to peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Paul O’Neill is an Irish curator, artist, writer and educator. He is the Artistic Director of PUBLICS, since September 2017. PUBLICS is a curatorial agency, contemporary art commissioner and event space with a dedicated library, and reading room in Helsinki.
Between 2013-17, he was Director of the Graduate Program at the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS), Bard College, New York. He is author of the critically acclaimed book The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s), (Cambridge, MASS., The MIT Press,
2012). Most recent book as co-editor is Not Going it Alone: Collective Curatorial Curating (Apex Art, New York, 2023).
Paul is widely regarded as one of the foremost research-oriented curators, and leading scholar of curatorial practice, public art and exhibition histories. Paul has co-curated over seventy exhibitions. Paul has held numerous curatorial and research positions over the last twenty years and he has taught on many curatorial and visual arts programs in Europe, The USA, Asia and the UK. Paul has co-curated more than sixty curatorial projects across the world.
Mick Wilson is an artist, educator, and researcher based in Gothenburg. He is Professor of Art and Director of Doctoral Studies at HDK-Valand, University of Gothenburg. Among his key research interests are constructions of 'publicness' and the 'social' in contemporary art, and exhibition-making as a mode of enquiry.
Image: Book cover, Kathrin Böhm: Art on the Scale of Life, design by An Endless Supply, 2023
Kathrin Böhm: Art on the Scale of Life
Edited by Gerrie van Noord, Paul O'Neill and Mick Wilson
Designed by An Endless Supply
Co-published by The Showroom, London; PUBLICS, Helsinki; and HDK-Valand at the University of Gothenburg; with Sternberg Press
£22, order via [email protected]