New Art Book Collection: Bongoût Screen Printed Books

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We recently received the entire archive of screen printed works produced by Bongoût, a group of German screenprinters based in Berlin.

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La Secte du Triangle, illustrations by Kikifruit and Bongoût, 2007.

Bongoût existed from 1995-2012 and was started by Meeloo Gfeller and Anna Hellsgård.  They produced silkscreen artists books and gig posters.  Everything is completely handmade.  They also did commissioned graphic design work for a variety of clients such as underground record lables and world music festivals to corporate clothing companies and tobacco companies.

"Bongoût" means "good taste."  The idea for their name came from a song by The Cramps called "You Got Good Taste."

IMG_1209.JPGHand Astronaut, illustrated by Michael DeForge in Canada, hand printed and colored by Bongoût, 2006.

SUBVERSIVE CONTENT


"Our books are considered too raw to be contemporary art and too arty to be underground.  They fit somewhere between the two but they don't fit anywhere in particular."

Some of the work they print is considered sexually explicit.  Their response is that it is about freedom of speech and freedom of thinking and about questioning the limits of what can be created and published.  They believe subversion is defending freedom of speech.  Bongoût says they also just enjoy being subversive.

LIMITED EDITIONS

All of their works are in limited editions ranging from 50-180 editions.  They do not reprint anything because they constantly wanted to produce new work.

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IMG_1203.JPGGris - Gris a collaboration of artists curated, printed and bound by Bongoût, 2008.

DO IT YOURSELF

DIY is their motto.  They choose the artists they want to work with.  They print the book, do the color separations, choose the paper stock and print, fold and bind the books by hand.  When they make the book they improvise.  They do not make a plan and they create as they go, coming up with many unique books.

image(3).jpegWonder Beast, art by Nate Williams (n8w), Seriagraph by Bongoût

STRANGE SHAPES

"It can be hard to find places to stock the books because they're strange formats.  If you put them on a shelf, you're either not going to see them or they're going to get ruined."

photo 3.JPGReality, 2003.

Most of the items are in some sort of book format.  There are also loose prints, posters, hand sewn fabric covers, printed cardboard boxes.  Some resemble a book of prints, some unfold accordion style, and others are more zine-like.

IMG_1211.JPGLe Monde Microbes, Meeloo.

Even though Bongoût ceased production in 2012, you can still follow Anna Hellsgård & Christian Gfeller' s work here: www.resurgo-berlin.com

This entire archive consisting of over 100 items will be added to our Gorman Rare Art Book Collection which is housed in the James Ford Bell Library, located on the 4th floor of the Wilson Library.  You can make an appointment to look at these materials.

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