DABF23 Opening Talk: Polyphonic
- 07 December 2023
Dublin Art Book Fair, Ireland’s leading art book fair and centre for artist books presents its thirteenth edition. Taking place in Temple Bar Gallery + Studios over ten days, DABF champions small, creative and independent publishers, and both Irish and international artist books. Within this mix, over 500 newly published and unusual publications on art, design, visual culture, philosophy, architecture, select fiction and poetry will feature alongside a special selection of nominated books by Guest Curator Wendy Erskine.
Wendy Erskine's theme Polyphonic, is celebrated further through a programme of talks, readings, workshops, book events and participatory events. Interested in the innumerable viewpoints, stories or perspectives that can originate from a single source, Erskine’s theme celebrates the creation of artwork that brings multiple voices together.
Erskine writes, "multiple voices; multiple narratives; multiple perspectives: the polyphonic. Whether it’s simultaneous or sequenced, whether it’s in visual art, text or sound, let’s celebrate polyphony in all its complexity and contrariness. Let’s explore this non-hierarchical, democratic mode which allows for plurality of expression and response. The polyphonic, a challenge to the controlling, totalising ‘I'."
An impressive programme of featured talks and events runs for the ten days of the fair. The opening talk by Wendy Erskine is a walk-through of the nominated books and a reflection on her theme, Polyphonic. Rough Trade Books, a UK-based publishing house evokes the same spirit and radical spirit as the pioneering record label of the same name, presents two events: Tim MacGabhann will discuss his new compelling work Rory Gallagher – Live! – From the Hotel of the Dead with Colm Breathnach; and Rough Trade Books Co-Director Nina Hervé in conversation with Wendy Erskine. We are the Passengers brings together three prominent literary figures Will Ashon, author of The Passengers, Nithy Kasa and Susan Tomaselli, hosted by Erskine to consider matters such as totalising perspectives and polyphony, people and place, tradition and innovation.
Artists, berte & harmey present a live audio-visual lecture-performance using a set of 48 smartphone images which chronicle two research trips to the border region of Poland and Belarus. aemi presents a screening of maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore, a film by visual artist and filmmaker Sky Hopinka, in collaboration with the IFI and TBG+S. This runs in conjunction with the launch of the artist’s new collection of poems The Island Weights, published by STEREO☜ ☞EDITIONS. Recipient of the inaugural VAN Guest Editor Award, Orit Gat will be in conversation with writer Isobel Harbison discussing the relationship between art and literature, the theme of the latest special issue of The Visual Artists’ News Sheet. Emmet Scanlon of Story, Building will launch Dublin Exchange, Reflections from a City in Flux ed. Ruth O’Herlihy, René Boer and Gary Hamilton. And Lauren Kelly and Ala Buisir host an Art + Activism: Zine-Making Workshop.
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios presents a new commissioned artwork for DABF23. I Dream of a White Gorilla by Mandy O’Neill is on view in the gallery for the duration of the fair. This work invited people to answer a series of questions about a significant 'place' in their lives. Echoing the theme, Polyphonic, Mandy O'Neill created a collaborative artwork that brings together multiple voices, thoughts and experiences.
Dublin Art Book Fair is saluted for how it embraces arts practices, publishing and artist-run culture at the intersection of art, design, writing, contemporary culture and contemporary life.
Wendy Erskine is a Belfast-based writer and educator who started her literary career with a six-month writing workshop run by The Stinging Fly. She has since written two prizewinning short story collections, Sweet Home and Dance Move (The Stinging Fly Press and Picador). She recently edited well I just kind of like it (PVA Books), a collection of essays and images about art in the home and the home as art. In 2022, she was a Seamus Heaney Fellow at Queen’s University.
Henry J Lyons are proud sponsors of Dublin Art Book Fair 2023. Funded by The Arts Council, Dublin Art Book Fair is also supported by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature.
Image Descriptions: (1) An indigo graphic displaying the words 'Dublin Art Book Fair' in acid yellow. (2) A person stands at a table at Dublin Art Book Fair, reading a book. They wear a red beret, eye glasses, red scarf and a black backpack. In the background, there are more people browsing books placed on rectangular ply tables. The room is brightly lit with white walls. (3) Wendy Erskine is looking directly at the camera. She has shoulder length blonde hair, a fringe and blue eyes. Her right arm is raised and she is resting her head into the palm of her hand. She wears a red top with a ruffled sleeve. She sits next to a painted concrete pillar and there are blinds visible in the background