Valencian design at its best takes over Frankfurt Book Fair
19 Oct 2022 /

Valencian design at its best takes over Frankfurt Book Fair

With the title “The llibret de Falla: a cultural opportunity”, the Frankfurt book fair 2022 will host from October 19th to the 23rd an ephemeral library made up of some 100 Fallas llibrets and other complementary objects dating from 1855 to the present day. This initiative is part of Spain’s participation as the Guest of Honour at the most important international event for the graphic and publishing industries, where World Design Capital Valencia 2022 will have its own space thanks to the investment made by the Council of Education, Culture and Sports, through the General Directorate of Culture and Heritage.

This is the first international stop for this travelling exhibition, which premiered at IVAM (Valencia, Spain) during this year’s Fallas, and represents a milestone for the projection and recognition of Valencian culture. The Councillor of Education, Culture and Sport, Raquel Tamarít, who is travelling to the Frankfurt Fair on October 18th and 19th, will visit the exhibition curated and designed by Ricardo Ruiz and which has the collaboration of Feria València, Andreu World and LZF Lamps.

The llibrets de Falla stem from the collective work of Valencian men and women and they are made up of a variety of opinion articles, poems, historic studies, essays, tales, stories, illustrations… together with personal memories, experiences, festive events or local commercial advertisements. As a written document, the llibret de Falla gathers the oral and experiential testimonies of the collective imagination. These publications, which historically form part of the Fallas, are an element that does not succumb to the flames, and yet they go unnoticed by the general public, who pay more attention to the other artistic expressions of the Fallas.

Declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, the Valencian Fallas festival combines tradition, satire and art. Celebrated annually from the 1st to the 19th of March, they invade the city with a passion for fire and the fallero monuments, enormous sculptural groups made of wood and treen. To symbolise the springtime purification and renewal of the communities’ social activity, the Fallas are erected in the city squares and are set alight to mark the end of the festivities.

The mission of this exhibition is to vindicate the importance of promoting and communicating the existence of the llibret de falla as a cultural opportunity which goes beyond the Fallas world”, explains Ricardo Ruiz, director of the project. “It is a genuinely local platform, for free and participatory expression, which should accommodate the talent of the Valencian cultural world via written reflections, poetry, illustrations, photography condensed into a Valencian editorial whose nature is intersectional and not endogamic which pushes us to share ways of seeing and knowledge blurring cultural strata.”

The llibret de Falla: a cultural opportunity” gathers a sample of llibrets de Falla as intense catalogues of popular Valencian art. But it does not do so with a merely demonstrative or historical intention, but rather in pursuit of the opportunity that these examples offer to the Valencian cultural industry, encouraging it to participate today and voicing that it is a powerful local tool for transformation. For this, although the sample gathers historical llibrets which are fundamental to understanding its evolution up until the present day, it focuses fundamentally on those copies with an outstanding edition, above all at an aesthetic level, and especially in recent years, where significant advances have been made.

Different people, institutions and associations have collaborated to make up the project and compile the llibrets lending different copies and objects which make up a common, transformable and ephemeral library.

Objects designed in Spain

Design is an essential part of the publishing industry, not only in reference to graphic design as an illustrator of stories, but also in the design of spaces that invite reading, libraries, educational centers, and even in the elements of their layout, placement and exhibition in both public and domestic environments. In the context of this Fair, World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and Acción Cultural Española present “Objects designed in Spain”, a conversation with the participation of designers Inma Bermúdez and Ibán Ramón that took place on October 22 at 3 pm on level 1 of the Fair’s Pavilion. Presented and moderated by Eduardo Teixeira, head of sponsorship and international relations of World Design Capital Valencia 2022.

The talk focused on the value of design in the publishing context. Eduardo Teixeira put it this way: “Graphic design illustrates the stories and conceives the covers of books; editorial design is responsible for their final format; industrial design conceives the objects that serve and accompany the reading of books (shelves, lamps, library furniture), and interior design conceives all those spaces for the promotion of reading and learning”.

Inma Bermúdez reflected on the magnitude of the creative process with the following words: “The designer’s work consists of constantly asking questions and questioning everything, until reaching a point where even the psychology of the individual with the object is taken into account”.
Ibán Ramón, for his part, stressed the same point when he considered that “When designing, pre-existing or reference models are questioned, and even the definition of the commissions”.