Twenty Weights, Please is a collection of moments, glances, objects, memories and unspoken words published by Boîte (Giulia Brivio e Federica Boragina). It is the scent of a journey, the fragrance of a memory. Sonia Marin collects in this notebook the intimate and exquisitely private story of the women in her own family, her mother and grandmother, and their journey through 1950s London. On the suggestion of the stories and from the photographs of a rediscovered album, the artist retraces the same roads, visits the same places and, letting memory inhabit them, takes new images. The book becomes a diary in which lives overlap and, with slight melancholy, weave in and out of time. The words accompany the reader among the places, among those moments, in those dialogues, the blank pages in closing leave space for a new story. A short piece of writing by Alba Solaro draws outlines to memories, sometimes grim, sometimes intangible as the smoke of a Weights cigarette, held gracefully between her grandmother’s fingers. Twenty Weights, please is a limited edition of 200 copies, including 30 special editions signed and accompanied by an eau de parfum fragrance, MISCELA # 6, a Cerizza 1946—Milano creation, from an idea by Sonia Marin exclusively for this project.
Luca Attilio Caizzi: Time plays a fundamental role in each story. What is Boîte Editions currently experiencing?
Boîte (Giulia Brivio e Federica Boragina): The other day, in conversation with the artist and curator Ermanno Cristini, we were discussing how to re-learn “time waste” through art. Boîte Editions—and ourselves as individuals—are experiencing a hectic and uninterrupted present in the professional sphere. Art publishing is a field in growth and transformation, so it would be nice to be able to waste time, create time to think, listen to oneself, and activate creativity and imagination. We see an opportunity to do that by making artists’ books: it gives us space,
physically, to change the rhythm. Once upon a time, idleness was celebrated. Could we start reconsidering its importance?
LAC: You are a research and production publishing studio dedicated to contemporary art. How do you divide your time between research and production in a project you follow?
B: We make a conscious effort to cultivate our publishing concept as a practice of experimentation and contemplation, delving into the events around us. This approach extends to the production phase, which entails substantial research, encompassing materials, technological advancements, and engagement with bookmakers and art publishing professionals. The research on contents and artworks usually begins several months before the release of the book. However, we are familiar with many of the artists we have realised books with, thanks to studio visits, conversations, and discussions that have been ongoing for a long time. We are fortunate in working for other publishers too: this allows us to never stop conducting research
and stay up to date.
LAC: How did you meet artist Sonia Marin? When did you decide to produce her book Twenty Weights, Please?
B: Sonia and Federica bumped into each other at IED. After a long time, thanks to the support of common acquaintances, Sonia proposed the book to Boîte. Discussions and conversations immediately began, aiming at finding the best direction to follow and the most suitable format for the book. Knowing the project better, we determined that it fitted our expertise, right because of the interweaving between intimate narration and poetic suggestion that characterise it.
LAC: The design is by Sara Murrone. All the papers you selected and used for the book are specified in the product details. How important are the details in the designs you produce? How does the market respond to your prompts?
B: In an artist’s book, just like in an art piece, every feature and detail constitute an essential part of the work and it is chosen to express or support a concept. For instance, in the book Origo by Simoncini. Tangi, the topics of biology, nature, and regeneration are explored: therefore, the papers chosen and used are entirely natural, derived from olives, almonds, and algae wastes. Moreover, for the book Sleepless Stories by Marta Pierobon, we chose to cover the book with Curious Matter Blue paper, a dreamy paper which has an intense and iridescent metallic colour, embossing in gold both the title and the eyes’ illustration on top. Special techniques, precious details, and very limited print runs are highly appreciated in the market. With an increasingly production of artist’s books, the uniqueness of a carefully crafted object holds great appeal. Perhaps we need non-disposable items, and the attention to detail gives an idea of the time dedicated to these creations.
LAC: The publishing market is constantly changing. How does Boîte position itself in the segment? What do you expect from the future?
B: Boîte was born in 2009, when the publishing industry had not yet exploded as it has today, allowing us to build solid foundations and gain valuable experience. We have remained faithful to the idea of working on contemporaneity, in close contact with artists, and focusing primarily on promoting Italian art, which greatly needs it. We chose the word ‘Studio’ because we don’t want to impose ourselves too many restrictions; we really enjoy pushing boundaries. We are not just a publishing house; we also aim to create a market and make it widespread and sustainable. Since 2018, we have been collaborating with BASE Milano to curate The Art Chapter, Milano Art Book Fair. The fair is a moment of gathering and sharing, where new ideas emerge, and new perspectives outline every year. The future? Interesting question. In these months, we are experiencing an intense moment, and we would like to catch our breath and identify the path we would like to pursue the most. One of the urgencies we feel is to combine art publishing with artworks, creating new narratives with the readers/visitors. It is very common that people hesitate to open a book on a shelf: we would like to make books ‘explode’ and we are confident that the interaction with artworks generates new stories, dialogues and points of reflection. We aim to continue interpreting publishing as a space of encounter and shared creativity.