If you don’t know about the glorious, cool, quirky, life-enhancing joy of Henningham Family Press you ought to
John Mitchinson – Co-Founder of Unbound
David and Ping Henningham live and work in Dalston, London. They formed Henningham Family Press in 2006, making artists’ books and prints, performance publishing shows and, since 2018, publishing fiction and poetry as members of Inpress Books and in partnership with Unbound. David’s first novel Foulness will also be published by Unbound in spring 2022.
Collections that have acquired their work include: Victoria & Albert Museum, the Tate, National Poetry Library, National Galleries Scotland, Stanford University, UCL, Chelsea College of Art and UCLA. They have exhibited/performed at the British Library, BBC Radio Theatre (The Verb), Dundee Contemporary Arts, The Whitechapel Gallery, Christie’s Auction House. As publishers, their books have been shortlisted for The Goldsmiths Prize, Republic of Consciousness Prize, and longlisted for The Walter Scott Prize.
They met at Central St Martins School of Art in 2000. David was awarded Sculpture BA at Chelsea College of Art and MA at The Slade. Ping was awarded a first class BA in Art History at University College London and studied Modernist Literature MA at Queen Mary University of London.
Since 2007 we have devised Live Art shows that compress the act of composition, production and distribution of printed matter, and ideas, into a single live event; performance publishing.
The Maximum Wage screenprint production line was manned by members of the public, culminating in Zines, ephemera, and a locally accepted currency; the Orwell. The day was encapsulated in a magazine about employment.
In 2010, London Word Festival commissioned us to take a chipboard Chip Shop counter on a tour of national institutions and cafes, including Dundee Contemporary Arts, Christie’s, The BBC Radio Theatre (The Verb), The British Library (Evolving English), and Charlottesville, Virginia. It was a mobile screenprinting studio where we printed people’s favourite words. Cuisine and vocabulary often come from overseas.
Our Monday School project of 2011, to coincide with the quatercentenary of the King James Bible, saw us write the only Bible commentary to feature a fight with Slavoj Zizek in a bookshop. We then held a birthday party for the Bible for the London Word Festival. This was followed in 2012 by a live-screenprint poster processional show with US Indie band Half-handed Cloud, like a Dada Sunday School. New parts of the poster, and the building, were revealed as we made our way from Creation to New Creation.
InterInterInter, a Rational Rec commission, toured internationally, compressing a single night of musical collaboration into a single site-specific book bound live on the dance-floor.
Our Book Art and Limited Editions are acquired by private collectors, Library special collections and Museums. They can be bought directly from us and shipped worldwide. Librarians can email to arrange for us to visit them with our books. In the USA, Limited Editions are available through Lux Mentis Booksellers, Maine.
“Henningham’s mordant wit and avant-garde flair is part of another poetic tradition stretching back to Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound and the Dada pranksters of Zurich.” – David Collard, The Times Literary Supplement
In 2010 we created a crumbling body of text called An Unknown Soldier. This ongoing project, inspired by today’s DNA identification of First World War soldier’s remains and the historical role of printmaking in mechanised warfare, was exhibited at Christie’s and The National Poetry Library, to mark the Centenary of the War. Two of a series of prints following Imperial paper sizes and using our bespoke Trench font were acquired by the V&A. They shout muted messages with bold screenprinted colours, reminiscent of call-up posters and the patterns found in security envelopes. An activity book for children about Modernist poetry, Letters Home, was published with the National Poetry Library. A choral version of the poem is in production for the stage.
“Satisfying the biggest appetites” – The Independent
“Fantastic” – The Guardian
“Contemporary” – Financial Times
“Wonderful family-run art and bookmaking collective…ingenious” – Spoonfed
“They appeared out of nowhere like something from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” – Vice
“In one sense the Henninghams are setting the tone for a radical new approach to publishing by showing that writers and artists aren’t beholden to traditional publishing houses. Of course, this doesn’t open it up to everyone as the majority of aspiring writers will not be equipped with the skill and dedication to design and bind books as beautifully as the Henningham Family Press. Still, you can look on and admire.” – Humans Invent