Apropos.Provisional is a unique concept store located on Hay Street in Subiaco. A wonderful mix of literature, photography, art, music and fashion, the space is truly one of a kind in Perth. I interviewed Apropos.Provisonal’s Alex Markovic recently to learn more about the store…
> Please describe Apropos.Provisional…
Apropos.Provisional is an independent retailer of books specialising in publications with an emphasis on current trends in art, photography, architecture, design and writing. Our store in Subiaco opened in November of 2014 and we co-inhabit the space with Good Company Records, another independent retailer who deal in specialty vinyl. We have also recently opened a small exhibition space attached to the rear of the store that operates as a contemporary art gallery that we curate simultaneously.
> What sparked its beginnings?
I’ve always been an avid collector of artist’s editions, they just appeal to me as these beautiful tactile objects that are artworks in their own right. the artists behind them always have so much to do with their production and every minute detail is so considered – from the actual layout, the way in which titles are bound and presented, down to the paper and printing process itself.
I was studying fine art here in Perth, and then later in Paris, and the thing that struck me over in Europe was just how there is such a widespread culture for the appreciation of artist’s editions, one that seemed vastly more expansive than over here. Paris was littered with so many incredible shops dedicated to these specialty publications, and the more and more I looked the more I found others elsewhere across the globe.
I discovered all these incredible stores and communities of people creating and sharing small press publications in New York, London, Berlin, Melbourne and Sydney and I really just found the passion and hard work behind it all so inspiring. I thought there was definitely enough interest for something comparable to operate in Perth, but nothing quite like what I was seeing elsewhere existed here.
As it happened, Andrew Sinclair from Good Company came across a spot in Subiaco when looking for a space for the record store. He thought our two concepts could align well, and so invited us to co-inhabit the premises with them. Six months later, both projects keep growing bigger and better.
> The store is really beautiful! What concepts did you have in mind when you created the space?
We really just wanted to keep it minimal, give everything a chance to breathe. The Good Company guys shared a similar mindset in that we didn’t want it to take the appearance of an ordinary record/book store, where everything is cluttered and becomes somewhat hard to navigate. We wanted to celebrate the hard work that goes into the design of all the book covers and record sleeves, so we decided to display everything on tables and walls so that they stood the chance of being appreciated, rather than being stuffed sideways on shelves so that only the spines are visible.
The store at present almost has the appearance of a gallery for the products we stock, which I guess in a way helps to reflect the time we spend curating our selection of titles – but we’ve also tried to make it homely and approachable as possible with the inclusion of plants, fruit bowls, a fish-tank and some comfy chairs to kick back in and thumb through books or listen to records.
> When sourcing new publications for the store, is there anything in particular you look for?
Our goal has always been to showcase excellence in publishing and creative talent, on both a local and international scale. We’ve adopted a pretty democratic approach in that we are always looking for submissions from people who have self-published titles – whether they be photocopied zines, hard cover photo-books of anything in-between. The emphasis has always been on photography but really it’s all-encompassiong, and so the focus is simply on unique publications that are unlikely to be found elsewhere in Perth.
> The top three titles you’re most excited to have in store at the moment…
Alec Soth’s ‘Songbook‘ is probably my favourite release of the year. The first lot of copies we got in sold out within a week of having them, and we’ve only just been able to get a fresh bunch of copies in stock this week. Alec is an American photographer and published whose work has that incredibly rare ability to resonate with anyone who is fortunate to come across it, his subjects always so breathtakingly compelling and his technical execution is so perfectly apt in capturing them. Songbook is a large hardcover collection of his Black and White photos taken from the LBM dispatch series he self-published with writer Brad Zeller from 2012-2014. They document his travels across the American stateside, attending dances, festivals and communal gatherings in an era of social networking. The resulting photographs are sublime and really need to be experienced in print rather than on screen.
’5 comes after 6′ by Japanese photographer Yurie Nagashima is also one of my favourites at the moment. There’s an incredible sense of stillness to the photos collected in this edition that really allow you to stop and appreciate her eye for colour and light. Everything is put together in an incredible way and the prints have such a vibrancy that make them leap off the page.
And lastly, Perth expat Traianos Pakioufakis’ editions ‘Grass Tree’ and ‘Ghost Gum’ are ones I can’t recommend enough. Two really incredible A5 editions that collect his photographic studies of two really recognisable pieces of Australian flora, but presented a completely different light. Simple, beautiful and haunting.
> What does the future hold for Apropos.Provisional?
We’re in the early stages of starting our own in-house publishing imprint, and are working closely with some incredibly talented local artists to produce editions of their work that will be available later in the year.
Our exhibition program is also in full swing and we have some great shows lined up for the gallery space in the coming months, so keep following us on the usual social media platforms as well as on our website to hear more about those. Other than that we just want to keep expanding our catalogue of titles and help foster a community of people who are excited about producing, celebrating and collecting small-press publications in Perth.
267 Hay Street, Subiaco WA 6008