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
Henningham Family Press is the collaborative art and writing of David and Ping Henningham. We are both Artists and Authors, and we are curious about every aspect of writing, printing and publishing. We complete and represent our writing through fine art printmaking, bookbinding and performance.
Books and Prints are machines for communicating ideas, and the ideas that fascinate us tend to involve Money, History and Religion. We exploit the fact that reading makes the dead available for comment. We make live shows that bring our books and ideas to life.
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.
Collections that have acquired our work include:
Victoria & Albert Museum, the Tate, National Poetry Library (Royal Festival Hall), National Galleries Scotland, UCL, Chelsea College of Art and UCLA. We have exhibited/performed at/in Christie’s Auction House (Multiplied), Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the British Library, BBC Radio Theatre (BBC Radio 3 ‘The Verb’), Dundee Contemporary Arts, The Whitechapel Gallery, William Morris Gallery, Black Rat Gallery, London Word Festival, Berlin, Ghent, Oslo, Bergen, Indiana and Virginia. David has also taught bookbinding at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design.
We live and work in Dalston, London. We primarily work with National and Regional Cultural Institutions and civil society groups. We are always looking for new Institutions, such as museums, libraries and publishers to collaborate with.
“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