Letter by Philippe Van Cauteren

Letter: to Posture Editions

May I start with an anecdote? It must have been mid-2020 that very early in the morning I rang the doorbell at Katrien and Nikolaas’s place. A few days earlier, I had received the message that in the course of the weekend, I could come to fetch Posture Editions No. 39 (Ritsart Gobyn, ‘In Between’).

I was really early—so early that the two founders of Posture Editions needed some time to answer the door. My enthusiasm had taken over from my sense of time.

The coffee was strong and Ritsart’s book hadn’t arrived from the printer yet. In the end, I didn’t leave with Posture No. 39, but with No. 27 (Koba De Meutter, ‘So that Afternoon We Both Made an Empty Circle’) and the accompanying edition I had ordered two years earlier.

Walking with my book in a joyous mood in the still empty city, I thought of the various times we had sat down on other occasions later in the day but at the same table to discuss new publications. Usually I sat with my back to the garden, looking towards the open kitchen. To my left, perhaps some 80 cm above the table, I noticed every time I sat there a particularly beautiful painting by Nikolaas. A painter as an indispensable companion, a table companion. I’m not sure the painting still hangs there, but for me it does anyway. And I also kept thinking of a pencil, ticking softly the rhythm of Bach or Telemann on a coffee cup. In the meantime, I’m the owner of Ritsart Gobyn’s book, and I take good care of it, like I do of my other copies of Posture Editions.

But what makes Posture Editions what it is? In a time when we’re sedated by a frenzy of images, Posture Editions manages to confirm the discreet charm of the book. Over a period of ten years, Posture Editions has whispered into the ear of the viewer/reader that a common standing format (A4) is in fact a territory to explore, a region that allows to look around while strolling, a space that as book guarantees room for experiment.

The success of this independent publishing house is based on a sincere and direct relation with artists. The failure of Posture Editions is its boundless modesty. But it’s this failure—which is not a failure at all—that constitutes Posture Editions’ essence. When I think of Posture Editions, I think of discretion, accuracy, dedication, autonomy, experiment and elegance. This is a human project, a project without pretensions, a project for artists, a project inspired by the conviction that something is worth to exist as a book.

Posture Editions is designing with an open ear. It’s the creation of an archipelago of publications in the span of a single decade. Though in a down-to-earth manner the publications have been numbered, I prefer not to call them a series. Posture Editions is a group of islands of books, distantly related. Like every archipelago, also Posture Editions is an ecosystem, but one made up of artists, designers, actors, curators, galleries, art sites, museums, critics, bookshops and buyers. Unlike many fragile archipelagos, Posture Editions will never disappear. From its very start, Posture Editions has earned a unique place for itself. And what seems only natural a decade later, is in fact the result of obstinate perseverance.

Suddenly, I also think of 18 March 2019. That evening, at the inauguration of Richard Venlet’s ‘Museum for a Small City’, we also launched Posture No. 30 (Philippe Van Snick, ‘Huis—Home’). It was a special night, but also a difficult one. I don’t want to elaborate on the issue, but mentioning it as such is itself a reminiscence and a tribute. But it’s about the title of Posture No. 30: ‘Home’. That’s exactly what Posture Editions is, a home: a place to return to, to make plans when they’re good. In the meantime, many inhabitants call this house their home—perhaps more than anyone had ever thought. How many floors there will be in the future is hard to say. What I’m quite certain myself, that in the future, I’ll still ring the doorbell very early in the morning for a cup of coffee. Empty-handed, but with my arms full of plans. When attitudes become Posture Editions.

Ghent, 14 September 2021

Philippe Van Cauteren in: ‘One Way or Another’, Ghent, 2021.

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