Ten years of making books as a public space by Ruja Press
PrintRoom presents 10 years of Ruja Press’ work, playfully researching and exposing their publishing practice and family with an exhibition, a public event and a book launch.
Ruohong Wu and José Quintanar, researchers, artists, architects and publishers at Ruja Press: “We perceive publishing as our artistic practice. We make books from a social and political conviction. But, above all, we make books to have fun”. Since 2013, the two artists have opted for publishing as a way to create social spaces and a poetic tool of communication. As they say: “We draw for our friends, and printing a drawing is the cheapest way to share a drawing with many others.” It’s how they started, in London – with a simple approach to make a community.
During Art Central Rotterdam XL – Gallery Weekend, PrintRoom welcomes Ruja and friends for the opening of the exhibition and a public event. The exhibition, with over 40 artist books by Ruja, explores the idea of “making books as a format for artistic practice” and aims to connect and expand the audience from a single space to other interventions in the public space. After the exhibition, PrintRoom and Ruja launch a publication about 10 years Ruja Press – which features, among others, the project Today is a Very Very Very Very Gummy Place (2021).
A ball has been shot by a man. A man carrying a flag. A flag that has been previously shot by another person. Another person of whom we only know the gesture of his leg at the moment of shooting. The drawing ends with an “etc”. There are two annotations, “This was a Project but” at the top of the drawing, “We have forgotten what it was”, at the bottom.
“This is a drawing made by Robert Filliou and George Brecht. We found ten years ago inside of their book “Games at the Cedilla, or the cedilla takes off” published by Something Else Press in 1967. This image has haunted us for all that time. The drawing seems to be the beginning of a game. The elements of the drawing are indicating the instructions for playing. It´s is like a word game, where each element conditions the next and so on. At the same time, the information received establishes that the game has a fun character. Don’t think too much, the more absurd the better, continue playing and have fun. The “etc” indicates that we could continue playing:
“A ball is shot by a man who is carrying a flag. A flag that has been shot by a woman. A woman who has an elephant hat. An elephant hat that has been shot by a man. A man who is wearing a very very very long wig. A very very very long wig that has been shot by a woman. A woman who has a huge fancy umbrella. A huge fancy umbrella that has been shot by a man. Etc…”
If we had to describe what is a book for us, we could not explain it better than this drawing. This is why now we had to redraw that drawing. It’s for a book about RUJA PRESS, 10 years making books. It will be published by PrintRoom and will be called, why not, “This is a project but we have forgotten what it was”.