Parterre de Rois #4, Happiness
For all the recent focus on typography, white space and the new clichés of independent magazines (see this piece by Ruth Jamieson) there remains a strong strand of publications that are almost purely visual – platform magazines. These tend to be hit and miss – the seemingly simple ambition of compiling a series of images and visual stories is far harder than it first appears – but we’ve featured quite few here recently and can draw some conclusions about what works: strong work, of course; good production values; a sense of pace; and perhaps most importantly an intelligent concept or theme holding together the various parts.
Italian biannual Parterre de Rois (‘The Floor of Kings’ in French) positions itself as ‘an imaginary dinner party where one word is on the menu,’ a far more engaging description than ‘We’ve got a theme’. The word at the top of the menu for issue four is Happiness, starting with the bold painted face on the textured dust jacket (top). Inside that cover, the main cover features Queenie Palmer’s collage ‘Happy Michael,’ (above).
Inside, the magazine is beautifully printed on several paper stocks, images spreading out to fill the 226 large-format pages. This substantial run of pages allows editors Molly Molloy and Gianni Tozzi to present a fantastic collection of different material, as the following selection demonstrates.
‘Passport Control,’ Mark Wallinger
‘Five Watermelons, Orange,’ by Katherine Berhardt
‘Belgravia,’ Karen Knorr
Zhang Xiao and, below, Des Lawrence
There are occasional interviews and written pieces slipped in, but this is a visual magazine. The scope is international and multi-disciplinary – from pen sketches to painting and collage via still life, reportage and portraiture.
Parterre de Rois is a really rich experience and repays continued flicking – an important part of how we read magazines that is often overlooked. It’s not super-cool or now-focussed, but timeless (some of the material is almost ‘old,’ like Mark Wallingers work from 1988).
This is my kind of dinner party.