Patrick Frey is a Swiss publisher.
Episode 86: Patrick Frey is a Swiss book publisher. He is responsible for publishing a number of highly memorable and successful art books. Though I came to him from the perspective of investigating photobooks, Patrick has broadened my mind by what he publishes. He has almost single-handedly presented a great number of Swiss artists to the international community. He does other things as well, but I will leave that to the listener to discover.
The takeaway from my conversation with Patrick is his boundless energy. His raging enthusiasm and his foresight as a publisher make him an envious publisher to work with. I think I first came across his books with my purchase of Piotr Uklanski’s The Nazis. I remember feeling there was something illicit in buying the book somehow. I guess it was early on in my book buying experience and my prudish behaviour reflected my take on the subject at the time. I found out through buying it however that there was another way to look, to understand and to think through the subject.
There are a number of other very important titles from the publisher that I have covered or adored over the years. Among these titles are The Great Unreal by Onorato & Krebs, Psychobook by Beni Bischof, Cameron Jamie’s Front Lawn Funerals and Cemeteries, and The Rendering Eye: Urban America Revisitedby Regula Bochsler and Philipp Sarasin and Klaus Pichler’s Golden Days Before They End to name a few. The books that Patrick and his committee choose exhibit a certain flair for the absurd and I absolutely adore this in a world of publishing in which an over-sincerity can often apply to work. With absurdity, you know where you stand in as much as you are not actually considered. It does not dictate and allows humor and the mind to run forever.
In this conversation, Patrick and I speak about his publishing house, but we also speak about his relationship to other publishers, particularly Walter Keller’s Scalo, which was very important to the early photobook collecting community. Patrick and Walter were friends and he has published a fitting a beautiful tribute to his friend with Walter Keller-Beruf: Verleger with Urs Stahel, Miriam Wiesel and with many other contributors to the book. Please take a moment to listen. The conversation is lively and Patrick’s fascination with the world of the art book is rarely eclipsed.