Pierre Bessard by Samantha Rouault
A few months ago, we met Pierre Bessard in his home in Paris. We had come to produce a portrait, in both words and images, of this creative and ambitious man. A collector of beautiful things, this “young publisher” (as he likes to call himself) is bright-eyed and brilliant. On a table, Bessard had placed a pile of his past and forthcoming publications.
I was eager to see one of his latest, Wang Qingsong’s History of Monuments. I held a limited-edition copy of the book between my hands, admiring its bronze cover, a unique creation by the artist Martin Salazar. Only fifty were printed. (A regular edition was printed with a run of 450.)
Bessard spoke of meeting with Wang Qingsong in China. “In his studio, I felt like I was experiencing life in slow-motion. Time was suspended as I became immediately absorbed in his world. The book was conceived in that space. China changed my perception of things.”
Editions Bessard was founded during an epiphany after returning from a trip to China. It was a rewarding, fortunate experience that led to the book Journal de Chine, 365 Days in China. “The country should be seen in its entirety,” he told me.
According to Bessard, a book can come together quickly. “When I meet with an artist, I become visionary, I can see the finished work materializing before me,” he says. “To maintain this energy, I am constantly on the move, doing workshops and attending conferences to better understand the evolution of the book and the image.”
Bessard is in high demand, both as a publisher and for his artistic and technical advice.
Like a gold digger panning for the finest nuggets, he prefers to conduct his research himself. “I have always known how to surround myself,” says Bessard. “It takes emotion, reflection and innovation. That’s how I approach art.”
Among his innovative projects is his highly successful Zine collection. He’ll soon be printing 250 copies of each. The sixth issue, devoted to the English artist Brian Griffin, will be released at the end of January.
Bessard hopes to expand his distribution and work with foreign booksellers, develop other publications and launch new collections, including special editions in color. The first will feature the work of the German artist Katharina Hesse on her series Fireflies.