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Books Make Friends
A film by Julien Crépieux, Mark Geffriaud and Yoann Gourmel


Founded in 1998 by a Dutch duo consisting of artist Mark Manders and graphic designer Roger Willems, ROMA Publications functions as an independent publishing project based in Amsterdam. It is conceived similarly to an exhibition that would evolve with time as one publication leads to another, while serving as a platform of exchange between a growing number of artists, designers, writers, poets and institutions. Published in editions that range between 2 and 150 000, every issue has its own rule of distribution based on the specific content of the projects: they can be given away for free, only exhibited in gallery spaces, or sold online or in bookshops.

Until now, more than a hundred projects have been published, ranging in formats from artist books to exhibition catalogues, posters, journals and postcards, all designed in a recognizable, restrained, and simple graphic line. Thirty of them are devoted to Mark Mander’s own work and thus consist of an extension in printed form of his installation and sculptural practice. Created on this particular premise, ROMA Publications has since opened to an increasing number of participants, and managed to define a specific economic system which allows Manders and Willems to work on nothing else than the projects they want to do.

This film was made in Mark Manders studio in Ronse (Belgium) in October 2007 and shows Manders and Willems discussing the origins of ROMA and its particular functioning system before examining a selection of the publications they made. This film is a guided visit of an exhibition on paper.

Yoann Gourmel