At the origin of Yellow Now, there is Yellow, an art gallery installed at the end of 1969 in Roture, in Liège, at the initiative of Guy Jungblut. The first exhibition is dedicated to Jacques Lizène, a little master from Liège in the second half of the 20th century and a paragon of mediocre art. It was a pretty good start.
The gallery intended to promote artists who deviated from traditional media and explored photography, books, movies, video (which was still in its infancy). It will exhibit Ben, Nyst, Annette Messager, Leisgen, Gerz, Poirier, Gette, Charlier … In 1971, it organizes the first video art event in Belgium: Artists’ proposals for a closed circuit television.
In 1973, a first “artist’s book”: Annette Messager, Mes clichés-témoins, is at the origin of the editions Yellow Now. Two years later, the gallery went bust and Guy Jungblut decided to devote himself essentially to books: Bay, Gerz, Gette, Gac, Poirier, Nyst, Ransonnet, Lennep, Fernie – in short, fifteen years of publishing artists’ books.
From 1988, under the impetus of Patrick Leboutte, the editions were oriented towards the cinema, with first the collection feature Films (nineteen titles: Holidays of Mr. Hulot of Tati to the Traité de bave et d’éternité of Isidore Isou), which will be followed in 1990 by a close collaboration with the Cinémathèque française (notably for the edition of the first eighteen issues of Cinémathèque, with Dominique Païni). Other collections focus on directors that are not widely available, more difficult or rarer (Banlieues, directed by Charles Tatum, Jr: Freda, Trauberg, the American Serial …) or incisive essays (De parti pris: Cinegenie de la bicycle, Praise of pornography, For modern cinema). Collaborations are started with various film festivals (Locarno, Dunkirk). In this vein, several encyclopedias will be coproduced: An encyclopaedia of cinemas in Belgium (with the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris), An encyclopaedia of the nude in the cinema (with Le Studio 43 of Dunkerque, the Coursive de La Rochelle, the Havre Volcano …), An encyclopedia of French short films (with the Festival Côté court of Pantin).
After a brief period of soft turbulence (due in part to an umpteenth bankruptcy of the distributor – there will be a dozen in all), Yellow Now draws since 2000, with the complicity of Emmanuel d’Autreppe, a geometry of the most irregular chance possible, a polygon with a few sides: Côté cinéma, Côté photo, Côté arts, A côté: four lines of force.
The “Cinema Side” is now organized around four major axes: 1) Selected pieces: collections of critical texts: François Albera, Raphaël Bassan or Jean-François Rauger …; 2) collective essays on Authors: Melville, Fuller, Pelechian, Ford, Béla Tarr …, 3) monographs on films: Côté Films, which takes up and extends the concept of the former feature collection. Thirty-seven titles have been published so far: from Monika of Bergman (by Alain Bergala) to Agent X27 of Sternberg (by Gaël Lépingle), it is an anthology of cinema that is being sketched ; 4) and the Motifs collection, whose modest ambition is to focus on constituting an iconology, an inventory of the various elements that seem to be only ordinary context, ordinary environment, but which make sense in the cinema.
Thus snow, clouds, wind, but also light, blur, telephone or coffee shop … as many subjects, “motifs” that the cinema records and that color, dramatize, make lyrical or energize stories.
Finally, Yellow Now opens, much more widely than before to photography, with two collections. The Angles vifs collection (directed by Emmanuel d’Autreppe) brings together photographers from Belgium, in the intensely vague and broad sense of the word – both geographically and linguistically. Each work (the first of its author) presents a photographic work in the form of a visual essay (in a precise, compilatory or focused but framed aesthetically and thematically), accompanied by short critical texts or interviews. With variable format and covers, each volume is designed, for its form and content, in a close and original collaboration between the publisher, the photographer and the authors. It is most often a first editorial experience and nourishes the project to open eyes, doors, worlds, languages … with a sharp angle.
Finally, the Les carnets collection (initiated by Bernard Plossu and Guy Jungblut) proposes to revisit the archives of a photographer or a collector and to extract thematic series (facts, objects, situations, evocations …) and transversal (various eras, various places, various techniques …); each volume is introduced by a text of the photographer or a writer who dialogues with the images.
Two titles of this series have just been published: Lire/Ecrire by Bernard Plossu and Lorsque tu me liras with photographs from the collection of Véronique Marit. These two books theme “reading” and for each a text by Bernard Noël.
Two other titles are currently being printed: Belleville sur un nuage by Ivan Alechine (with a text by Pierre Alechinsky) and Karine – apparitions by Robert Cahen (introduced by Jean-Luc Nancy).