Since its start in 1972 Materialverlag has thrived on a combination of the typical spirits and ideas of the times, and the people investing their craft and energy in the publishing house.
But then and now, Materialverlag is a place for encounter and overlap – for making books in the area of tension with other disciplines, such as photography, drawing, sculpture, painting, time-based arts and theory.
The book as a format plays a role in any artistic practice, be it as a representation of this practice – in the form of catalogues, documentation of processes, portfolios, or as an essential part of the artistic practice itself – as a so-called artist's book. In the latter the author and 'designer' are one and the same person, and it is this kind of book that is the focus of Materialverlag.
Being embedded in an art school's field of learning, Materialverlag regards itself – in contrast to commercial publishing – as a laboratory. It can permit itself, in close relation with a variety of workshops, to take the time needed for processes to develop. Materialverlag offers developing artists and designers at the HFBK Hamburg the opportunity to express their artistic intentions into, and find an audience through, the tangible and vital realm of the book.
In 2009 a book, compiled by art historian Thilo Koenig, was published, documenting Materialverlag's history and contributions to art, design and publishing up to 2006.
To date more than 400 titles have been published by Materialverlag. These all can accessed in the library of HFBK Hamburg – most of them can be ordered online.
Brief Note: Many of the books produced here at the Materialverlag contain little or no text (aside from relevant publisher information). Additionally, books printed in languages other than German are accompanied by descriptions of those editions on our website in their own respective language(s).