A book, you know, is like a fist.
Letterform Archive is proud to present publishers Gato Negro who will discuss their work on manifestos in relationship to their online exhibition at California College of Arts.
The Latin word manifestum can be translated to mean “in plain sight,” “clear,” or “conspicuous.” It is no accident, then, that Mexico-City based publishing house Gato Negro uses bold yet straightforward designs to publish manifestos, both old and new. By “using the least amount of design possible,” as founder Leon Santini describes it, Gato Negro's book designs allow the text to speak for itself, energized and unchallenged.
The exhibition explores how design and distribution can empower the content of a printed or digitally produced text. Gato Negro relies on a Risograph printer to rapidly and inexpensively produce their conceptually weighty books, written by geographically disparate authors. Organized in Spring 2020—whilst we are ordered inside, bound to our homes—this exhibition investigates what new potential these texts might have when rendered in, or reduced to, the digital sphere. Does the malleability and accessibility provided by the web alter the effect of the words on the (digital) page?
Since 2013, Gato Negro Ediciones has acted as a recognizably urgent voice in independent publishing across the cultural realm. Advocating for the liberty of thought, the Mexico City-based press prints titles that challenge the often sequestered view of contemporary society. In a new world where temporary excess and obstruction of knowledge are all too common, Gato Negro returns the voices of their authors to the fundamental purpose of the book.
By remaining inside the economically-amicable yet the unconstrained process that is Risograph printing, an archive of over 140 titles has been successfully called into life ever since its inception. From political manifestos to art theory and prose, the books of Gato Negro do not wish to deconstruct reality through ornamental distractions that lately seem to have become an inevitable requisite within the modern history of publishing. Instead, Gato Negro embraces the curated content through their straightforward and entire designs. In this presentation, the content can reach broader audiences, and be applied in more and more contexts.
The outcome of each publication is a dialogue between reader and creator — an ecological construction of self-hood that distills collective contemplation while all we do is live.
Mexico City, 1976. Self-taught designer, publisher and photographer, has developed his career mainly in the area of editorial design and especially in the ﬁelds of literature, children’s literature, social design and photography, working for various institutions in Mexico and abroad. His work has won several awards, among them the New Horizons Bologna Ragazzi Awards (2009 and 2013); the AIGA’s 50 Books / 50 Various Editorial Covers (2009). Santini is the author of the books Horizontales y verticales (2012) and Satán (2017). In 2013 he founded the independent and anti-authoritarian publishing project Gato Negro Ediciones. Pushing the boundaries of what the book format and the editorial language can deliver. Since 2017 he is member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI).
Tamaulipas, Mexico, 1991. Graphic Designer, Photographer and Illustrator. She is a partner and Editorial Design Coordinator in Gato Negro Ediciones (Mexico City, 2013-), where she has published: ¡Miau! (2014), Enrique (2016), Donald (2016), The life plant cycle starts all over again (2016) and Rebeca (2018). She develops projects as an Editorial Designer and illustrator for various institutions in Mexico. In recent years, she is working with subjects related to Photography, Gender and Eroticism. She is also starting Miau Ediciones, a Spin-off/in the making publishing project of Gato Negro Ediciones. An independent feminist publishing program that will be working primary with female artists, writers, illustrators, editors and creators, with the intention of reducing the gender gap in the editorial scene and amplifying these voices.