Mandates / Objectives
esse arts + opinions, published three times a year by Les éditions esse, is a contemporary art magazine that focuses on disciplinary and interdisciplinary practices (visual arts, performance, video, current music and dance, experimental theatre) and all forms of socially inclined, site-specific or performative intervention. It favours analyses that address artworks within their (geographical, social, political or economical) contexts. It seeks to offer readers a topical magazine in the field of multidisciplinary art, as well as a communication, information and research tool that answers their needs. More than a magazine publisher, esse plays an active role in the art milieu. From time to time, Les éditions esse organizes art symposiums and publishes their proceedings in bilingual books that are internationally distributed. We also publish an edition/collection of artists stamps (six stamps up until now) disseminated across Canada.
esse was founded at Université du Québec à Montréal in 1984 by MFA students and became a not-for-profit organization in 1987. The magazine has since developed, getting the most out of allocated resources and is continuously improving in terms of content, graphic design, promotion, dissemination, readership, etc. In 2002, it was revitalized by a new management team, an in-depth revision of its administrative operations, renewed board of directors and steering committee. In 2004, a new logo (reused from issue no. 1) and improved graphic design marked esse’s twentieth anniversary. In 2005, issue no. 62 tied for the Grafika Grand Prix, and the magazine started being printed in colour. The same year, Esse un groupe de + en art changed its name to Les éditions esse and published its first bilingual book, Places and Non-places of Contemporary Art. Also in 2005, they produced a first series of artists stamps validated by Canada Post (with works by Francine Larivée, Sylvain Bouthillette and Gwenaël Bélanger), and a second series in 2008 (Evergon, the Sanchez brothers and BGL). To stay competitive in the magazine publishing milieu, esse revised its graphic design in 2006 and won awards from Magazine Applied Arts and Magazine Coupe and, again in 2007, it received the Grafika award. In 2007, the magazine became bilingual expanding its distribution across Canada and the United States. In 2008, Les éditions esse published the book The Undecidable: Gaps and Displacements of Contemporary Art. In 2014, esse celebrated its 30th anniversary.
esse is indexed in ARTbibliographies Modern and BHA, and in legal deposit at the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec and the National Library of Canada.