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Artist Interview: Line Bøhmer Løkken (Photographer/Multipress)

– Hello Could you please introduce yourself first?

I was born in a small mountain village in Norway in 1970. Photography has always been a part of my life since then for as long as I can remember. My father even had a darkroom in the basement, and I probably sold my first photos to a newspaper when I was 12 or 13. I went to university in Gothenburg, Sweden, where I studied photography for five years. After college, I lived in New York for a few years before settling in Oslo. For most of my career, I have been fortunate enough to be able to create my own work while working as an art teacher, curator, and in galleries.

I mainly create works using photography, and the theme is how we think through the architecture, people, and things that characterize a place. I am interested in how to engage and experience different places in the broadest sense. I strive not only to achieve a visual experience through photography, but also to express the presence of the body through photography.

– Multipress was founded in 2000 and is now in its 18th year of operation. I think it's rare to find an independent publisher that has been active for such a long time. How did Multipress get started in the first place? Also, what was the Oslo artbook scene like in 2000?

Multipress Martha Aus and Anna Greta Thoresson After producing a publication in 2002 with the theme of "photography as public art", it started in earnest. At that time, it was fashionable to produce catalogs in conjunction with exhibitions, and they produced the catalog together. So in a way, you could say that Multipress started as a viable solution for producing books and continues in the same way today. Publishers are very much involved in our own writing activities. If not, I probably wouldn't have lasted this long.

At the time, there was almost no artbook scene at all, and there were probably only a few artbooks in the whole country. At that time, the idea of ​​a collection of works as art itself was not yet popular, but it has gradually spread since then. Around that time, we started debating what the difference between a catalog and an artist's book was. It usually takes about two to three years for an author to publish a book, from ideation to funding and completion. And those discussions led to the publication of "Manual", a collaborative project between myself and an artist one year older than me, Thane Ormot. We wanted to make the book as a starting point for the exhibition, not as a container to store the results of the exhibition. It is still the theme of my work today, and even if the subject matter of my work changes drastically, that point will not change. yeah i really think so

Fotografi som offentlig kunst by Anne-Grethe Thoresen and Marte Aas (2002) ©︎Multipress

– You published your first photobook Pictures & Things from Multipress in 2004. Did you decide to produce it?

I spent my late teens and early twenties with Marta. She was 21 when I was 18 and she was my first proper photography teacher. We lived in the same house after being accepted to university in Sweden at the same time. And now we've shared the same studio for eight years. I hope this gives you a good idea of ​​how well we know each other. Publishing as Multipress gave me the freedom to choose everything that a normal corporate publisher couldn't. At that time, I think it was probably even more important than now that I could do what I wanted.

– And in 2013 you actually joined Multipress, how did you come to join?

When I was producing three books from Multipress "Tøyen sentrum", I was thinking that I should either join or start my own publishing company. Besides, I wanted to know whether I should participate in the book fair myself and put a little more effort into promotion, as well as the situation on the ground.

– When I first saw the Multipress collection, I got the impression that it derives from a different context than the current mainstream photography collection. In other words, rather than a context unique to photography, it is a context that builds on the flow of contemporary art and artist books. Multipress Production Feels Shifted To Phase Two Is it currently run by Lina-san? Also, have you changed anything about it? 

Yes. It is very difficult to judge before and after joining I am so deeply involved in all projects that I am somewhat blind, but of course I had some visions when I joined. I wanted more opportunities to collaborate with artists, and I wanted to have a wider but more specialized selection of artists. It's also hard to put into words how it's influenced my own style, but each experience at Multipress always generated feedback, and the book and bookmaking in general. By learning in Perhaps the biggest change is who I work with and my focus on the medium of photography. The position between a photo book and an art book is exactly right, and our goal is to go beyond style preferences and fashion, without claiming that we stand outside the so-called tastes and preferences of each field. All books have a solid concept and logic In the early days, I was trying to expand the format of the book itself and explore the themes of what is possible with the medium of the book. I think

Tøyen sentrum by Line Bøhmer Løkken (2014) ©︎IACK

– Jin's series "Angle" , which you create with various artists every issue, is also a project that started after you joined. This is a very rich variation, and despite the small number of pages, I get the impression that each issue is stable and has a high degree of perfection. Can you tell us more about this project?

Angle is a project in collaboration with artist, photographer and bookmaker Verena Winkelmann The original idea was to produce a more intense publication in less time than the usual big projects. This is also because I wanted to increase the number of publication titles to make Multipress more active. Angle's theme is to explore the possibilities of the language of photography and to provide a source of ongoing discussion for contemporary image production. Through this project, I would like to generalize the Norwegian art scene, and also engage in dialogue with the international scene. When we started Angle, we set a very lofty goal of eventually producing 90 volumes. It will take a lifetime to complete We are currently preparing funds for the next four books. And the first big milestone will be when you reach volume 30. At that time, I think we can probably rework the concept for the next 30 volumes and discuss it again.

– What kind of flow do you go through when producing a collection of works? For example, how do you select artists, and how do you put their works into a book?

Multipress is kind of like a "self-publisher," and what we offer writers is, well, an umbrella. We mostly only work with acquaintances and close friends And all the books except Angle are self-funded by the authors. Instead, we discuss and advise together throughout the entire process, from concept to layout to design. Of course, the writer is ultimately free to accept it or not. It is very important to us that the author retains autonomy over the final product. Due to our lack of capacity, many writers cannot be accepted no matter how good the offer is. But Angle is an exception, we invite writers and curate. The selection of artists is based on an ongoing dialogue between Verena and myself. However, as a new challenge, I asked Hester Keisel to select two artists. This is a new initiative and I hope it will be fruitful Hester was trained as an artist but now works as a curator and writer. I think that artists who have experience collaborating with other artists have a different way of perceiving things and making different choices than those who have never been involved in a production other than themselves.

– You have continued to publish many of your photobooks since your first photobook was published. I would like to ask you again, what is the meaning of producing a photo book for you? Also, do you have any particular preferences about publishing books from your own publisher rather than from other publishers?

The format of the book, or the book as an 'exhibition space', is very important in my artistic activities. I have never thought of a book as a catalog or just a reference, I see it as a work of art in itself. I keep debating those choices with myself all the time as I try to match the design with the concept of the project. And I want to visualize the image itself more than the layout, so I spend more time on the rhythm (sequence) of the book. Thinking of the work in a book format is definitely essential in my own production. Sometimes I feel a certain freedom in being responsible for all the limitations and choices that come with making a book. For me, at least at the moment, I find the democratic aspect of the work, which is more accessible to those who are interested in the work and can be purchased, more interesting than the uniqueness of the special edition. There is no doubt that there is a love-like relationship between photography and books, and I think the two are the perfect combination.

Feature: Multipress at IACK (2018) ©︎IACK

– Formerly Norwegian publisher I read an article saying that it is a kind of heavenly place for What is the current state of the Norwegian publishing and art book scene?

Norway has a very good funding system for the arts For example, works of art are subject to a 5% tax on top of the normal tax amount. And the money will be sent directly to the foundation that will issue subsidies when creating new works When the topic of grants comes up, it is often pointed out that all agreements and rights for artists are always under right-wing pressure, and that we must always fight back. The number of writers has grown considerably, but the funding to fully support the field has not grown. So it's getting harder and harder to get grants every year, and we are absolutely required to be more professional. And this means that certain forms of work are more likely to fit into that system, giving rise to the paradoxical phenomenon of artists producing works that are easier to obtain grants.

Also, the number of art books produced every year is increasing, and everyone wants to make a book, especially in the field of photography. So, here again, only the number of applicants for the grant is increasing. But with good work and perseverance you can always make it happen And although the number of photobooks published in Europe is increasing, I get the impression that the number of people who actually buy photobooks is not necessarily increasing. Recently, I feel a strong need to ask myself whether it is really necessary to use the book format in my work. I think the question of why we make books is more important than ever.

– What are your future plans for Multipress?

Multipress has one project that needs to be funded a little more, but four Angles will definitely be published around the fall. Personally, I'm currently working on a newspaper-themed piece that I'll be distributing free of charge at the exhibition in September.

(Interviewed on 6 June, 2018)

Portrait of the artist ©︎Line Bøhmer Løkken

Line Bøhmer Løkken
Photographer Born in 1970, based in Oslo He mainly produces photographic works on the theme of how we interact with and experience different places through buildings, people, and objects. In recent years he has focused on a more phenomenological approach to photography, exploring the tactile aspect of vision and aiming to obtain a tactile reading through the gaze. He has held exhibitions at "Kunsthall Oslo", "Gallery F15", "Fotogalleriet", "Henie- Onstad Kunstsenter" and "Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst". He has published many artist books, and is also the co-organizer of the artist-run publisher Multipress, curating and managing the project "Aangle 1-90°".

Multipress / Multipress
Multipress was founded in 2000 by the artist Norwegian independent publisher founded by Marta Orth and Anna-Greta Thoresn In 2013, photographer Reena Verma Locken joined the group, and continues to produce art books centered on photographic works to this day.

A collection of works by Reena Verma Lockenhere
Multipress Click here for a list of works