It’d be fair to say that Nieves pioneered the concept of putting out artist’s zines as a publisher, instead of an artist publishing his or her own zines independently. You hear all to often of publishers striving for too much control over their output, compromising the artwork and vision of the artists themselves, and this couldn’t be further from the truth in the case of this Swiss outfit.
Speaking to founder Benjamin, it seems almost ridiculous asking about the ‘concept’, as it is simplicity itself. “It’s very simple, each zine is produced in the same size, about the same page count, and always photocopied in black and white. there’s no graphics concept, each artist is free to edit the whole zine from the front to the back cover”. Seems obvious doesn’t it?
Benjamin is in essence a collector, an this is why the back catalogue, integrity and honesty of their productions has always been second to none. “Zines are quite precious to me… Nieves started the zine library; whenever we get sent zines or buy zines they will get included in the library which is growing daily, it’s shown sometimes in a travelling exhibition”.
Their current show, “100+ Zines” is on display at Printed Matter in New York, a purveyor of limited artists publications for many years. The setting could not be more apt. Tens of thousands of staples and over a century of hand made books later, we are treated to an exhaustive retrospective of one of the most enviable collections of D.I.Y. publications around. Never before all seen in one place it has left me, not for the first time, yearning for a trip to The Big Apple.