The Publisher


Tique | art paper asks eight questions to an international art book publisher about its motivation, practice and role today. This week: Onomatopee.

The Publisher Onomatopee

What motivated you to start publishing?

Freek Lomme: “After working as curator for various organizations, I felt there was too little opportunity to take responsibility over the projects I was showing. Furthermore there was too little critical community in my environment in Eindhoven (The Netherlands), so I felt publishing as part of making projects in tandem with exhibitions and public program made sense. Furthermore, publications travel and last, while exhibitions don’t.”

Onomatopee 127 'Artist-run Europe' (2016). Curated and edited by Gavin Murphy and Mark Cullen (Pallas Projects Dublin)

How would you describe your role in the creation of a publication?

At Onomatopee I can be the initiator of a curatorial and editorial project, I can be the director of a organization that hosts projects of curatorial/editorial colleagues or be the host to a project we coproduce or host that is managed by external people. So sometimes I am the project leader and final responsible and sometimes I just make sure it is good enough for Onomatopee. In all cases I work in a temporary organizational environment with people from various disciplines, with various expertise. Often I am a bit of an in-between of art-director, final content editor, author, project-leader, fundraiser, coordinator/manager and more.

Onomatopee 131 'X' by Lieven De Boeck (2017). Graphic design by Sara De Bondt. Edited by Lieven De Boeck, Freek Lomme and Sara De Bondt.

What do you look for in a project?

It has to challenge culturally on a content level and visually on a cultural level. People involved should want to tell a story, rather then promote a practice. There should be necessity in the productive release in the core of the project, which can and should be progressive. There should be critically effective conversation at the back-end, no bullshit on the front end.

Onomatopee public gallery and publisher (2017). Photography by Anna Dasovic

What advice would you give to anyone planning to make a publication?

That would depend on what they want.

What do you consider to be your biggest challenge?

Keep people engaged even though nobody is making money.

Onomatopee 118 'Can you feel it?' - Effectuating tactility and print - curated and edited by Freek Lomme - Graphic design by Pierre Martin (2016).

As a lot specialised (art)bookstores are disappearing, is it harder to present the publications to a wide audience? Are you using new channels to reach them?

I do not know which bookstores you are speaking of. Some come, some go. We have good distribution, we don’t complain while we try and push stuff ourselves and people know to find us. Some years we have more means to advertise and travel, sometimes less.

Onomatopee 132 'The economy is spinning' (2017). Curated and edited by Kris Dittel, graphic design by Raffaela Drazic

What do you find the most rewarding?

The naivety of my enthusiasm while following a deep believe for cultural sincerity.

What does the future hold?

A lot of projects, much collaborations, good times, tough times.

out now

Tique | publication on contemporary art #3: Six Questions