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Best Books 2014: Ramon Pez


Best Books 2014 Best Books 2014 Ramon Pez Best Books picks from bookmaker and COLORS magazine art director Ramon Pez.

“So many books, so little time.” Frank Zappa
By Veronica Fieiras
Riot Books

This is the perfect example of how all the elements that construct each book (images, text, editing, design, printing and binding) can enrich the narration of the story. Veronica confronts us with the story of the disappearance of thousands of people during the military dictatorship in Argentina in a masterly way: forgetfulness, memory and frustration perceived through overlays, transparencies and the gradual disappearance of the images as a strong metaphor.
By Hans Eijkelboom
Phaidon

This inexpensive paperback book is the perfect container for hundreds of mirrors collected by Hans Eijkelboom over 22 years of extraordinary and methodical investigation through the crowded streets of Western cities. At first it seems a simple catalog with a minimalist design. However, it suggests a deep, yet accessible reflection on the homologating effects of a deeply individualistic society, explained through rigid photographic grids and synthetic captions as footer.
By Mark Ruwedel
RAM

In this book, elegantly designed, Mark Ruwedel documents the old border of the American West through the relationship between the extreme beauty of black and white landscapes and the macabre name associated between them. A clever excuse to suggest fear and frustration triggered by taking possession of any unknown territory, and a violent claim of denial of indigenous peoples common to many current borders.
By Rafal Milach
Gost

A deep critic of a country ruled by a dictatorship that, through a subtle irony, throws the regime's propaganda on itself. The book, brilliantly designed by Ania Nałęcka and Rafal Milach, collects a dozen beautiful portraits under which they hide (a clever technical solution) the descriptions of the winners of unlikely local competitions in Belarus. The Winners is a book extremely well made where every detail contributes harmoniously to the storytelling.
By Mel Chin
The Menil Collection

This epic book  starting with its impressive size, is a brilliant example of appropriation and its own redefinition. Mel Chin dissects the 25 volumes of an entire American encyclopedia, (Funk & Wagnall's Universal Standard Encyclopedia, ca. 1953-56) and configures it, through hundreds of wonderful collages, to a personal view of history with humor, wit, poetry and sarcasm.
By Andy Rocchelli
Censura

Made by the collective Cesura with the support of hundreds of backers (Kickstarter), these beautiful and intimate portraits of Russian women and their domestic spaces cleverly uses the technique of foldout inviting the reader to get lost in a maze of rooms. A beautiful book by an author who unfortunately left us too early.
By Awoiska van der Molen
FW: Books

Sequester is a sublime book. The images of Awoiska Van der Molen, patiently captured, are the result of a long and necessary insulation. A deep and careful meditation masterfully played in the design by Hans Gremmen with a high print quality. A metaphysical journey.
By Iñaki Domingo
RM / Kursala / Here Press

Ser Sangre is a small gem. A vision of the family portrait (active, practical, collaborative) surprising in its naturalness. A project that suceeds by building a collective narrative from the stereotype of the traditional family photo albums with artificial smiles. The well executed editing and production with no frills welcomes a story that gives us a peaceful break.
By Peter van Agtmael
Red Hook Editions

Disco Night Sept. 11 is a dense portrait of American society as told through its wars. It's not a classic war photography book: the story is told through an explosion of fragments (images, texts, anonymous testimonies, interviews, voids) scattered between Iraq, Afghanistan and the United States. The rhythm of the (brilliant) editing moves us back and forth on the narrative trail and makes us feel all the complexity of the story and the many overlapping truths.

Leta*
By Paolo Woods & Arnaud Robert
Self-Published

*Leta is a low-cost Creole language edition of Wood's and Robert's book State, produced specifically for the people of Haiti. State was published in 2013 and can be viewed here.

With this book, Paolo Woods shows us how a photobook can get out of the current narrow borders. Leta is important for two reasons: it presents a contradiction  the intrinsic limitations of the photobook market and its dynamics; and provides us with the possible solution  managing to solve a series of intricate problems like availability of papers, limited budget, translation into a local language or distribution. All solutions used in Leta, from the format to the jacket cover, are designed to achieve the same goal: to bring a story published in the West back to the island where it was born, Haiti. Leta is an open object, accessible to all readers, which opens a democratic and active discussion.


Ramon Pez is the art director of COLORS magazine and a bookmaker. His background combines design and visual arts to illustrated underground publications. Pez is particularly interested in projects where stories and narrative structures mix different media. His most recent projects are: Ponte City (Steidl, 2014), The Brightest Light Runs Too Fast (Editions Bessard, 2014) and Back to the Future (Self Published, 2014). In 2012 Pez also founded, together with artist Laia Abril, a Book Making Team designing, editing and producing The Afronauts. The team has also created the well recognized book The Epilogue (Dewi Lewis, 2014) and just released a new monographic on Abril’s sex-webcam performers series Tediousphilia (Musée de l’Elysée, 2014).

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