The Small Press Model by Simon Cutts / ISBN 9781910010341 / 158-page paperback with flaps, 5.5 x 9.25 inches, b/w illustrations throughout / published in 2023 by Uniformbooks (UK)
Small Press activity arises from the need and resolve for a critical alternative to mainstream publishing. It is a search for its own methods of producing and making available. Often it begins with the idea of writing and leads from the ‘little magazine’ of poetry publishing to individual publications and books. Having discovered the means of production, it is possible to improvise and delight in the extensions of the new means of publication.
This collection of writings attempts to group together approaches to the physicality of the book, learned from its beginnings as small press activity. A reductive instinct formed from those earlier editorial principles of small press work can be applied to all products of the imagination, especially the plastic arts. A synthesis of attitudes, developed from the aesthetics and economics of invention and problem solving, informs the formal making of all things.
Simon Cutts and Coracle have been working this collaborative field since the mid-nineteen sixties, firstly with a literary magazine, Tarasque, and its associated publications as Tarasque Press, and then to the editing of more diverse spaces and formats as Coracle, print, books and galleries, and the questioning of wider ideas surrounding publishing and publication.
“Like its publisher Uniformbooks, The Small Press Model celebrates the local, the non-metropolitan, those who have a ‘resolve for a critical alternative to mainstream publishing’. It preaches self-reliance, an ethics and economics of scale, a scepticism towards waving a begging bowl at the Arts Council. There’s a kind of English anarchism at play, echoes of the designs for living that Crass worked so hard to make real, when Cutts talks about his work as a ‘model of self-organisation’. It’s a model that stands for the dignity of production, the importance of collaboration, the need for alternative networks—and alternative publics. This is a book about publishing. More than that, it’s about refusing capitalist realism, about carving out and holding on to your own space, about how passion should never be a fashion.” Sukhdev Sandhu, Caught by the River
Simon Cutts was born in 1944, and has been making poems and objects since the mid-nineteen sixties. These have evolved through their arrangement in the physical space of rooms and pages. The form of the book as a metaphorical structure for the poem has increasingly become the form of his work, together with the installation of their parts in other settings. His work is included in several collections and libraries, including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Centre des Livres d’Artistes, Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche, France; Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven; and the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.