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Motto was started by Alexis Zavialoff around 2007, and initiated as a distribution company for Switzerland, specializing in magazines and fanzines, a service which hardly existed before on the Swiss territory.

The number of available publications kept growing and it now comprises more than 20000 titles, the catalogue being constantly updated. After establishing collaborations with major international distributors, the interest in books and smaller self-published items came naturally and it now constitutes a major part of Motto’s focus.

Motto distributes more than 150 publishers to a more than a 100 stores worldwide. Events are organized regularly, with a particular eye for art school environments and art spaces. Motto also collaborates with libraries and institutions.

In December 2008 Motto opened its first permanent bookstore, in Berlin-Kreuzberg. The store is a natural progression from the traveling temporary bookshops that Motto has organized since 2007, first in Switzerland and then internationally. The temporary locations include Vilnius, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Moscow, Vancouver, Stuttgart, Athens, Seoul, Tokyo, Paris, Helsinki, Tbilissi, Kiev, Prishtina, .

A particularity of Motto is to offer the possibility of finding back issues of selected magazines, and also a wide selection of artists’ publications, including more experimental projects in sometimes very small print runs.

The location, an old frame factory in a Kreuzberg courtyard, strongly influences the spirit of the project. The space, a single room of 90 m², is furnished in old dark wood. Shelves and glass showcases allow a rotating display of selected publications. A long table and chairs in the middle of the space allow friendly browsing.

Motto Berlin regularly functions as a space for book and magazine presentations, as well as special evenings dedicated to different discussions around publishing about art, graphic design, photography, typography and related matters.
The publications displayed complete an intense programme of exhibitions, screenings, talks and presentations.

Motto Zürich store functioned between march 2010 and June 2012 in collaboration with Corner College.

In December 2010, Motto opened a new location at the Or Gallery in Vancouver, Canada, in collaboration with Fillip.

On March 2011, Motto started a collaboration with WIELS Bookshop in Bruxelles, followed in early 2012 by collaborations with Kunsthalle Basel, and Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen.

In June 2012 collaborator Joe Shakespeare opened Motto Melbourne

In 2014, Motto’s Australian branch moved to IMA Brisbane

In 2015, Motto started collaborating with Antipyrine @ Kunsthal Aahrus

In 2016, a new bookshop materialised at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts in Harvard, Cambridge.

In 2016, Motto started working with the Harun Farocki Institut

In 2017, Motto @ Bergen Kunsthall launched

In 2017, Motto started shipping books to Terremoto bookshop in Mexico DF

In September 2018, the Curatorial Research Bureau opened at YBCA

Legal address:

Motto Books SA
c/o Constantin Suisse SA
Rue du Jeu-de-l’Arc 15
VAT-No.: CHE260636757TVA

(any advertising and samples going to this address will not be forwarded)

Any reproduction of contents, materials or images from Motto’s website and archive is prohibited without written permission from Motto’s staff.

Motto Books SA © 2019