17 years ago, the Alias publishing house arose from the need to disseminate contemporary art
Damián Ortega in an interview with The Conference in April 2011. Below, reproduction by Alias of one of the maps exhibited by Miguel Covarrubias in San Francisco.Photo Cristina Rodriguez
Alias publishing house was born as a
individual need and became a collective taste around the investigation and dissemination of contemporary art, explained the artist Damián Ortega, who created and directs the label that turns 17 this month and already has more than 40 titles published.
The director advanced The Conference who will soon launch a book about the artist and curator Guillermo Santamarina. In addition, one works
that will be very interesting around Cristina Payán.
What excites me the most is his work to open didactic spaces.
Ortega (Mexico City, 1967) recalled that the editorial project arose as a need to obtain specialized literature in Mexico.
I thought it would be a good idea to translate the books I wanted to read that didn’t exist here. I found a very fertile and generous response from colleagues, friends and people who studied art..
The editor reported that a natural community has been consolidated. The original idea is that they were cheap but well-made books, and that each volume would pay for its publication and generate money to publish one more.
The first label title was Conversing with Marcel Duchamp, by Pierre Cabanne. Damián Ortega asked his friends to translate fragments whose result was “more Mexican, with slang, with inside jokes and things that I never knew if they were faithful to the original. They were an interpretation. It was fun to bring an artist to live in Mexico City, another language space, and make it contemporary. It was a way to revive a spirit and share it.”
Fresh, direct and vivid
Ortega explained that the first collection, Alias, deals with
to publish the voice of the artist, not so much of a curator or a historian; when he is researching, working. They have something fresh, direct, very felt and vivid about each other.
Then, he designed a new trend based on “researching the unofficial history of Mexican art and beginning to identify important figures, who had not entered or did not exist in the market. This is how the Antithesis collection was born.
“There has been a very rich and vital investigation of this other face of Mexican art. Filmmakers, musicians, writers, poets, photographers. The most recent are about Covarrubias, Eiseinstein, the stridentists in a triptych, Helio Flores with two books, one of political cardboard and the other of comics.
Now, the publishing house, which is already distributed in Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Spain, plans to reach the present,
where we see what is happening in this context, getting to know this moment through the artists; as well as translate the Mexicans and thus make a round trip bridge.
Another of the jewels in Antithesis is the one that rescues 155 drawings with sexual themes by the Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein in the volume Erotic drawings (La Jornada, 24/1/22).
Last year, Brazilian modernism turned 100 years old. To commemorate this milestone in the great poetry in the Portuguese language that was written and sung in Brazil from then on, Alias published tropical hangover, which brings together texts by Mario de Andrade and Oswald de Andrade, pillars of that movement in the literature and art of the South American nation.