La Más Bella is a project for reflection, action and experimentation in modern art publishing that promotes and carries out artistic projects specifically conceived to be published through alternative channels to the conventional world of publishing.
The publishers of La Más Bella are Pepe Murciego and Diego Ortiz, two people who have been involved in the art world, cultural management and the media in Madrid for over twenty years.
The fundamental core of La Más Bella’s activities is the publishing of the Magazine La Más Bella, a medium for experimenting in publishing that has appeared on a regular basis since 1993. La Más Bella is a magazine of collaborations, in which each new issue can count on the work of dozens of creators from every kind of artistic discipline imaginable, whether from the plastic arts, literature, audiovisual or conceptual fields.
Founded in 1993, La Más Bella has published over 30 issues containing the efforts of some 600 collaborators from the world of Spanish art and culture. In addition to its contents, La Más Bella has always had the idea of being an experimental product from the point of view of its format and external appearance, coming close to the idea of the assembling magazine or the book as object that was cultivated by many artists and collectives throughout the 20th century.
At the same time as they have been working on the magazine, the publishers of La Más Bella have also promoted, organised and taken part in a wide variety of events related with modern art and publishing, seen as a field that lends itself to experimentation and the dissemination of modern art: magazine exhibitions, cycles of performance/live art, workshops, talks, presentations, meetings and so on.
La Más Bella is not conceived with profit in mind. The economic survival of La Más Bella is premised on selling copies, the personal contribution of the editors and the profits derived from the numerous activities developed by the publishers. La Más Bella does not have any stable source of funding, be that a public administration or private institutions, beyond occasional collaborations and funding aids aimed at specific projects.
La Más Bella Magazine
Every new edition of La Más Bella is a project completely different from the previous one, both in contents and in its external appearance:
• Monographic contents:
La Más Bella is a monographic magazine. The publishers choose a subject, normally ambiguous and/or conceptual and/or funny, and we invite to participate to dozens of artists, asking them a contribution related to the subject we suggest. From the first edition of La Más Bella in 1993, more than 700 artists from all over Spain and some other countries have collaborated in the magazine.
• Different formats:
Formally La Más Bella change totally its external appearance every new edition. The publishers really love to experiment with unusual containers, always surprising and funny.
The best way to understand what is the philosophy of La Más Bella is having a look to a couple of examples:
La Más Bella TU (The Most Beautiful YOU)
Published in 2003, its monographic subject was the concept of “identity”. Formally the magazine was a typical wallet full of its typical contents (bank notes, ID cards, ID photographs, tickets…) recreated by different artists (almost one hundred).
La Más Bella Juegos Reunidos (The Most Beautiful United Games)
Published in 2005, the subject of the edition was «the game». The magazine was a game box (formally similar to a very popular spanish toy called “Juegos Reunidos”) in which every content (a collection of cards, game boards, etc) was made by an artist (55 contributors).
La Más Bella Grandes Exitos (2006) (The Most Beatiful Greatest Hits), which monographic subject was «the success». Formally the magazine is a fabric groupy-bag with three pins, a Picture-Disc Vinil Record, some vinil disc covers, posters, DVD, etc.
La Más Bella Manual de Instrucciones (The Most Beautifull Instruccions of Use), an issue which monographic theme is the concept of “utility”. Externally the magazine is an apron made exclusively by Pepe Jeans in denim fabric, whith all the contributions introduced into the pockets of the apron. La Más Bella Manual de Instrucciones is the most recent edition of La Más Bella (published december 2006).
La Más Bella Tapa (La Más Bella Snack). Published in February 2009. The monographic subject of La Mas Bella Snack is the worldwide famous Spanish “»tapa»” (snack), which in Spanish has a lot of different and funny meanings like “»cover»”, “»top»”, etc, and it is used in a wide variety of popular expressions.
La Más Bella Snack is a box similar to those that expend napkins in every bar in Spain, with napkins specially designed by artist Sylvie de Pauw. The box has been designed by designer Aitor Mendez, and contains almost twenty different pieces produced by different artists.
There are more than fourty La Más Bella editions. Please contact us if you want to know more about our publishing project. La Más Bella organize also exhibitions and workshops about differents ways to publish contemporary art. Contact us if you want to know more, and don’t forget to visit our BLOG.
The BELLAMÁTIC project consists in an automatic vending machine, very similar to the ones that expend candy, crisps or soft drinks on the underground and in other public spaces. It has been specially designed for automatically expending magazines, fanzines, catalogues, CDs, books, videos… any kind of editions or objects produced by La Más Bella or by any other collaborator, artist, collective, independent publisher, independent art space, etc. There is only one BELLAMÁTIC machine, which is easy to ship thanks to its design and dimensions.
BELLAMÁTIC is an art project in its own right, an excuse which allows a large number of artists to develop performance pieces, interactions, installations, exhibitions, editions… around the theme of the vending machine, as a subject matter, a protagonist, an output format, a source of inspiration, etc. Since its birth in 2001, BELLAMÁTIC has been installed in over fifty different locations, thanks to the invitation of galleries, artists, independent art spaces, festivals, or individuals who have the desire to have the BELLAMÁTIC temporally in their gallery, art space, studio, fair, festival, or home.
Similarly to La Más Bella magazine, BELLAMÁTIC is not a commercial project (in fact, we have only one machine). BELLAMÁTIC is conceived as an art project that allows us to promote La Más Bella and many other independent editions and artists, in a very funny and surprising way.
In the last months of 2008 the BELLAMÁTIC project has grown through the use of new machines we called BolaBellamátic, popular machines that sell small pieces of art into a plastic ball, sold at a very popular price (1 or 2 euro) in public spaces. Since then, the machines have been travelling to many places, events, art festivals, fairs… helping us to promote La Más Bella editions and the artwork of many artists.
BellaMataMátic en Matadero Madrid
In January 2009, the Matadero Madrid Contemporary Art Center commissioned La Más Bella to run a project based on a large vending machine permanently installed in the entrance hall of Matadero Madrid: it is the New BELLAMATAMÁTIC.
La Más Bella change the contents of the BELLAMATAMÁTIC machine every 4-6 months, according to monographic programs. The machine sells books, magazines, catalogues, artist books… that are outside the conventional distribution routines in the publishing world. The BELLAMATAMÁTIC machine change also its look thanks to the participation of artists commisioned by La Más Bella to renew the outside look of the machine. Visit our BLOG and click the [Bellamatamatic tag] to see more images and information of BELLAMATAMÁTIC.