6/10: La Mas Bella

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During Colophon2009 I set out to record something of the ten invited magazines here. I got up to five before the event itself took over, and like my fellow curators Mike and Andrew I found myself missing many of the highlights as well as finding myself unable to return to the magazine exhibitions to take pictures.

I hope to correct this by featuring the remaining five magazines over the next week or so… starting here with Spanish project La Mas Bella. Thank you to Pepe and Diego – that’s them below – for letting me use their photos.

The best way to understand La Mas Bella is to look at the issues, and their contribution to Colophon2009 was a show of all the issues to date. Set in the bottom of the valley that runs through the centre of the city, their venue was a perfect situation to concentrate attention on their unique formats.

La Mas Bella is different every issue, each one consisting of a group of items that reflect a theme or idea. They’ve published thirty issues to date, and the show featured about 15 of those issues – the specially created crates above each showcase one issue.

The issue above came as a wallet, with fake credit cards, money and photos.

The latest issue celebrates the Spanish tapas – or snack. Among the items included are a miniature bottle of vermouth, some typical Spanish bar napkins, toothpicks, a waiter’s order book, and a keychain replica of the first issue of the publication. It’s just great, great fun, a delightful collection of parts – think Christmas cracker/lucky dip bag.

I have to admit that despite Andrew’s long term enthusiasm for it, I didn’t understand La Mas Bella. But having seen this exhibition I am converted. The amount of research and depth of detail Diego and Pepe apply to each issue is remarkable. All the items are beautifully researched, presented and manufactured, making each issue a really special treat. It’s one of those projects that takes dedication and effort to complete yet is deceptively simple when you see the finished work.

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