"The Ugly Duckling of Publishing? Books on Demand", Leipzig, Nov 2, 23-Feb 18, 24

Venue: German Museum of Books and Writing at the German National Library, Leipzig

from November 2, 2023 to February 18, 2024

Opening: November 3, 2023, 7pm, with Dagmara Kraus (poet) and DJ Shlucht


Download booklet

With “The ugly duckling of publishing? Books on Demand”, the German Museum of Books and Writing is presenting the first-ever selection of artistic and experimental Books-on-demand projects. This temporary exhibition is based on holding the Library of Artistic Print on Demand, through which Andreas Bülhoff and Annette Gilbert have been exploring this phenomenon and its various artistic subcultures. The two curators of the exhibition have chosen a selection from their collection of over 300 items which engages with the impact and artistic exploration of this technology.

The diversity of the projects and prints is impressive, ranging from large-scale projects with over 7,400 volumes to tiny obscure conceptual print runs which have only produced single examples so far. It explores generative projects in which each book tells a unique story, and presents how printed books can serve as a cultural counterpart to the fleeting processes of digital cultures.

Print on demand not only overturns old value attributions and gatekeepers, it also creates new dependencies in the context of digital platforms and infrastructures that need to be reflected upon. The books in this exhibition engage with the book and its protagonists in a critical, experimental and exploratory way, demonstrating the relevance and timeliness of the medium, which must be constantly questioned.

A book about the exhibition is to be published by Spector Books in autumn 2023, and will be presented as part of this exhibition. A rich and varied programme of workshops and talks is planned to accompany the exhibition.