Unlock Book Fair Hamburg 2023


June 3 & 4

Publishers | Programme

A deep dive into graffiti culture

Unlock lands at the Museum for Hamburg History with guests Loiq, NovYork, Ulrich Blanché, Mick La Rock, Robert Kaltenhäuser, Christian Omodeo and Dutch Graffiti Library, plus collaborations with @tape.delay, François Chastanet and legendary designer Mervyn Kurlansky

Established in 2016, the Unlock Book Fair is the meeting place for the international scene of independent graffiti publishers and graffiti book lovers. This Hamburg instalment of the fair gathers 50 publishers from 14 countries in Europe and America.

Come to the fair and enjoy UNLOCK’s trademark scope, a deep dive into graffiti culture and into graffiti-related matters such as urban exploration, hobo culture, street photography and street art. Over 600 different titles will be available!

Rare books and especial events

Visit our Unlock Showcase table to find guest books from the US and Australia, and don’t miss our special feature Unlock Old & Rare – a selection of sought-after graffiti titles from the 1970’s and later decades, for display and sale.

Make sure to drop by the Museum auditorium to check our especial public programme, with all events introduced by UNLOCK’s host Dumar NovYork. Speakers will talk in English except where otherwise noted.

Loiq - The Fame Game - 2023 - Unlock Book Fair
Loiq - The Fame Game - 2023 - Unlock Book Fair


UNLOCK teams up this time with EINE STADT WIRD BUNT, an exceptional exhibition about the early history of graffiti in Hamburg, on view at the Museum for Hamburg History.

The Unlock Book Fair and our sister event The Tag Conference are presented as closing chapters of the exhibition’s prolonged and exciting program of graffiti-related events.

Location and opening times

The book fair will be installed within the covered courtyard of the Museum for Hamburg History, an impressive century-old building located inside a park right in the center of the city. All events will take place at the Museum auditorium.

➔ Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte
(Museum for Hamburg History)
Holstenwall 24
20355 Hamburg

➔ Book fair opening times
Saturday: 11am – 7:30pm
Sunday: 11am – 5pm


The team

Director : Javier Abarca | Production: EINE STADT WIRD BUNT (Oliver Nebel, Frank Petering, Mirko Reisser, Andreas Timm), œstreicher, Bettina Beermann (MHG) | Host: Dumar NovYork | Management assistant: Rocco Berger | Photography: Emmett Edelstein | Fair photo report: Jennifer Kauka | Archivists: Mike Delmar, Orestis Pangalos, Gabriel Calvín

Presented by

Unlock Book Fair Hamburg 2023 presented by

In cooperation with

Unlock Book Fair Hamburg 2023 in cooperation with

With support from

Unlock Book Fair Hamburg 2023 with kind support


Publisher and printer | PL

André Rickert
Self-publishing author | DE

Andrea Ceresa
Self-publishing author | IT

Magazine | PL

Aurel Johannes Marx
Self-publishing author | DE

BAMN Magazine | NL

Journal | DE

Brain Damage Gallery
Publishing house | PL

Brut Press
Publishing house | ES

BuchDruckKunst /
Museum der Arbeit | DE

Chemistry Publishing
Publisher and printer | NL

Cityfuck Magazine | DE

Club 27
Publishing house | IT

Publishing house | DE

Publishing house | GR

Gerrit Retterath
Self-publishing author | DE

Grosse Récré
Fanzine | FR

Grow Up Publishing | GR

Publisher and bookstore | DE

Holger Wiese & Tobias Sawitzki
Self-publishing authors | DE

It’s For Us
Studio | DE

Jens Besser
Self-publishing author | DE

Publisher and printer | GR

Kudla Press
Publishing house | CZ

L’Œil d’Horus
Publishing house | FR

Self-publishing author | FR

Self-publishing author | DE

Maurizio Jori
Self-publishing author | IT

Mr. Graffiti
Bookstore | NL

Munich Graffiti Library
Publishing house | DE

Magazine | DE

Self-publishing author | DE

Nokkio Institute of Zines
Publishing house | BE/HU

Publishing house | CH

Publishing house | DE

Possible Books
Publishing house | DE

Pressure Expansion Valve
Magazine | GR

Racoon Books
Publishing house | DE

Reclaim Your City
Collective | DE

Replikat Press
Publisher and printer | AT

Publishing house | NL

Slap Me Baby
Publishing house | CH

Fanzine | IT

Publishing house | NL

SubCulture Zine | US

Toy Magazine | DE

Tsamantakis and Pangalos
Self-publishing authors | GR

Publishing house | ES

Magazine | HR

Unlock Old & Rare

A selection of sought-after graffiti titles from the 1970’s and later decades, for display and sale. Curated by Book Bros.

Unlock Showcase table

Allan Gretzki
Author | DE

Bill Daniel
Self-publishing author | US

Publishing house | UK

Publishing house | US

Self-publishing author | US

Form Magazine | DE

King Koala
Publishing house | IT

Lachlan MacDowall
Author | AU

Public Ad Campaign
Publishing house | US

Red Tower Publishing | DE

Rüdiger Glatz
Author | DE

Schlachthof Kassel
Publishing house | DE



➔ 12 pm — Special presentations

‘All City’
Cardboard game
Racoon Books (DE)
With creator Leo Bauske (DE)

‘The Fame Game’ 👈
Comic book
Vers le Futur (FR)
With author Loiq (FR)

‘Illegal Crunch’
Table game
With publisher Podpolie (DE)

‘Why Oh Why’
Book presentation & signing with Dumar NovYork (US), Shave WOW (NL) and Ruyzdael (NL)

➔ 1 pm — Zine launches

‘Slap Me Baby #5’
With the publishers (CH)

‘Spraytrains Vol.7’
With photographer Chiara (IT)

‘Barletta_Bari_Brindisi – Bitritto_Bitetto_Bitonto’
With author, publisher and printer Jens Besser (DE)

➔ 1:30 pm — Book presentations

‘DIAMONDS: Moving Cathedrals’ 👈
With publisher Hitzerot (DE)

‘The World Screaming NOV’
With author and publisher Dumar NovYork (US)

‘Viva Roma’
Allaboutdrow & Hitzerot (DE)
With author Aurel Johannes Marx (DE)

➔ 2:15 pm — Book launches

‘Metro a 2001’
With publisher Club 27 (IT)

With publisher Slap Me Baby (CH)

‘136 Minutes of Malmö’
Hitzerot (DE)
With author and photographer Sascha Blasche (DE)

‘John Fekner: Detective Show’
BioEditions (UK)
With editor Susan Hansen (UK)

➔ 3 pm — Special Unlock launch & premiere 👈👈👈

‘Tag Spotlight #1 – HAER Survey of the 3rd Avenue EL line, 1974’
Archivist: Mike Delmar (US)

‘Tag Spotlight #2 – Philadelphia Dark Pages’
François Chastanet (FR)

‘Tag Spotlight #3 – Benching Delta’
Photographs by Sascha Blasche (DE)

‘Tag Spotlight #4 – Werkauszug’
Works by Walter Josef ‘OZ’ Fischer

With publishers Urbanario (ES) & Hitzerot (DE)

➔ 3:30 pm — Screening + talk

‘The Rise of Graffiti Writing’ (selected episodes)
72′, 2017–2021
With featured artist Mick La Rock (NL)

➔ 5–6:30 pm — Open talk 👈

‘Graffiti as Heritage: How to Preserve an Ephemeral Culture’
Arcanes (FR)
Dutch Graffiti Library (NL)
Kladmuur (NL)
Munich Graffiti Library (DE)
Robin Vermeulen (NL)
Gabriel Calvín (ES)
Javier Abarca (ES)


➔ 11:45 am — Book launch + talk

‘A Question of Style: Graffiti Writing Between Art/Theory and Practice’
Edifir (IT)
With editors Ilaria Hoppe (DE) and Egidio Emiliano (IT)

➔ 12:15 pm — Zine launch + talk 👈

‘The Good and The Bad’
Chemistry Publishing (NL)
Cover by Mervyn Kurlansky (DK)
With author Instagneto (NL)

➔ 12:45 pm — Launch + open talk

‘Blackbook 01 – Crye One’
Red Tower Publishing (DE)
Rüdiger Glatz, Sascha Blasche and editor René Kästner (DE) will discuss the role of blackbooks in graffiti culture
🇩🇪 In German

➔ 1:30 pm — Talk

‘Die andere Seite’
With Trainspotter Last Seen (DE)
🇩🇪 In German

➔ 2 pm — Talk

‘Stickers as Street Memes: Remixing, Anonymity and Trolling’
With Slapmebaby (CH)

➔ 2:30 pm — Talk

‘Unauthorized Art Critique’
With Robert Kaltenhäuser (DE)

➔ 3 pm — Talk

‘I Left My Giotto in The Faith of Graffiti’
With Christian Omodeo (IT/FR)

➔ 3:30–5 pm — Premiere + talk 👈

‘Stencil Stories: A History of Stencil Graffiti’
60′, 2023
With director Ulrich Blanché (DE)
🇩🇪 In German


‘Writers on Wax: The Sound of Graffiti’
Ruyzdael (NL)
Musical installation featuring the vinyl record series

‘Writers on Wax: The Sound of Graffiti – Miami Showcase’
Video premiere, 5′ (loop), 2023
Ruyzdael (NL)

‘Never Lost Tapes I & II’
Video, 12′ (loop), 2023
Peter Stelzig Archiv Berlin 2003/04

‘Worst Case Scenario’
Video premiere, 18′ (loop), 2022
Bozzzdooog, Meat Pie and Magpie


The Unlock Book Fair and its highlights: Hamburg, 2023 ✍️📷

This past June at the Museum for Hamburg History we celebrated the most outstanding Unlock Book Fair to date. It was again a great feast of graffiti books and zines, featuring many of the most advanced approaches to both graffiti and publishing in the international arena.

Three years after the last full-format Unlock Book Fair, there were great expectations among graffiti enthusiasts. A large number of recent and brand-new graffiti publications were presented by 50 publishers coming from 14 countries in Europe and America.

The stage was something else this year as well – from screenings to presentations to panel discussions, we are confident to have offered another firm push towards a better understanding and appreciation of graffiti, in its own terms.

This instalment of the fair was presented as part of the program of EINE STADT WIRD BUNT, an exceptional exhibition about the early history of graffiti in Hamburg, also at the Museum for Hamburg History.

Train graffiti in focus

The independent graffiti publishing scene is firmly evolving towards heavyweight, art-quality books often focused on trainwriting. Some of the most outstanding recent titles were present at the fair, among them “Viva Roma” by Berlin’s Drow, the retrospective books self-published by Mason TFP under the imprint Masmedia, and the gorgeous “Depicting Recent Memories” from Hamburg’s own It’s For Us Studio. 

A remarkable development in this field is “Moving Cathedrals”, a monograph about the recent series of abstract wholecars by Berlin’s Diamonds Crew. The book was presented at the Museum auditorium by publisher and Unlock partner Hitzerot from Berlin. Other ambitious volumes available at the fair were the ones by Berlin-based Racoon Books and the first “Blackbook” by German imprint Red Tower Publishing – not to forget the mammoth volume “Eine Stadt Wird Bunt”, produced by the team who hosted this year’s fair.

The most surprising takes on trainwriting came in the form of table games –not one, but two– that use the adventure of graffiti as their script. “All City” was first self-published by his author, and came to this Unlock in a brand-new, factory-produced version by Racoon Books. Podpolie, also based in Berlin, brought their whimsical game “Podpolie Illegal Crunch”, presented in a package that mimics a cereal box. In a related approach, Italian publisher Maurizio Jori launched “I Vandalotti”, the first graffiti-based sticker album.

A long-awaited graffiti comic book

The most anticipated highlight of the fair was probably the unveiling of “The Fame Game”, the new comic book by French artist Loiq. Loiq has been graffiti’s favourite illustrator since he self-published his 2017 comic book “Graffitips”, one of the most interesting and entertaining graffiti publications to date. After six years of work, he was able to finish his new comic book just in time for its presentation at the Museum auditorium. 

The result is a collection of illustrations and comic-book panels about graffiti culture and its contradictions, all full of Loiq’s trademark humour, and as insightful and fun as was expected from him. The stories and situations in the book put salt on every wound, and are sure to raise many uncomfortable chuckles.

Publisher Vers le Futur (France) brought an exclusive run of 50 copies for the zine’s pre-release at the fair, customized by Loiq with a hand-painted title. Loiq was also kind enough to print a new run of his classic “Graffitips” specially for the fair.

Unique graffiti zine-making

While large-format books are becoming a norm, traditional graffiti magazines are still published. Old and new projects from Europe and America like Spraytrains, Cityfuck, BAMN, Toy, Podpolie, ZGBkaos, Faces n Chases, Neongrau and SubCulture had a stall at the fair. The magazine and fanzine formats are today used as well as creative outlets for personal content and DIY approaches, and this Unlock Book Fair was, once more, a good occasion to tap into this field.

German artist and self-publisher Jens Besser was again present with his DIY train-related zines, and launched a new title at the auditorium. Dutch imprint Stickit did not fail to attend with their wide collection of monographic zines –including several new titles– while Belgian-Bulgarian publishers Nokkio Institute of Zines, also old friends of Unlock, brought their scarcely-distributed and fantastically nerdy graffiti publications.

A unique contribution to the fair were the zines by Grosse Récré, a small French publisher working with the most underground bends of graffiti culture, where the practice overlaps with urban exploration and freight hopping. The featured publications that inspired us the most, though, were the risographed zines by Keda*Press from Thessaloniki, a seamless mixture of cutting-edge DIY printing and anti-style graffiti.

It was particularly pleasing for Unlock to host the presentation of “Am I Nothing?”, a new zine produced specially for the fair by Snilsyason, the young and obscure Ukranian explorer who has been putting out some the most impressive work in the field. The zine was brought to Hamburg by Spanish imprint Brut Press.

Collab with legendary designer Mervyn Kurlansky

The golden era of New York subway graffiti was covered at the fair from different perspectives. Polish publisher Brain Damage Gallery brought their recently-launched “Gods of Graffiti”, the new hardcover by graffiti pioneer Fuzz One collecting stories, photographs and illustrations about his experiences growing up around the subways in the 1970’s. The long-lost book “Subway Graffiti”, published by Swiss photographer Thomas Christ in 1984, was available in a lavishly extended reprint by Swiss publisher Thierry Furger titled “Instant Recognition”.

The classic “The Faith of Graffiti” (1974) –the first major book to be published about New York graffiti– became a center piece of the fair, with a talk by French curator Christian Omodeo and a very especial publication developed for Unlock by Dutch connoisseur Instagneto under the title “The Good And The Bad”. The project started when Instagneto found that the designer of “The Faith of Graffiti”, legendary Mervyn Kurlansky from Denmark, had been forced by the publishers to use a title and cover image different to the ones he originally intended. 

As a lover of books and fan of Kurlansky, Instagneto decided to do something about it. He travelled to Denmark to meet the designer, and presented him with an original copy of the book in a custom-made dust cover designed the way he had intended. “The Good And The Bad” tells this whole story and includes an interview with Mr. Kurlansky, who came up with the title and designed the cover. It has been produced by Dutch imprint Chemistry Publishing.

Introducing “Tag Spotlight”, and more

We were especially happy to present “Tag Spotlight”, Unlock’s own new series of image-based publications featuring rare documentation of name-writing in public space. The first four volumes in the series feature Boris ‘Delta’ Tellegen, OZ, François Chastanet and Mike Delmar aka @tape.delay, and have been co-published for Unlock by Hitzerot (Berlin) and Urbanario (Spain). The videos produced by Delmar and Chastanet to go with their volumes were premiered at the Museum auditorium on the Saturday afternoon. Read more about the “Tag Spotlight”series here.

As a main feature of the fair’s public programme we hosted an open talk around the idea of “graffiti heritage”. The event gathered the pioneering publishing and archival projects Arcanes (France), Munich Graffiti Library (Germany), Dutch Graffiti Library and Kladmuur (Netherlands), and aimed at kickstarting the discussion about this necessary topic. 

The fair’s program featured unique screenings, from a very rare peek into the obscure world of European trainhopping to a cinema-format presentation of ‘The Rise of Graffiti Writing’ –the ambitious video series developed by ilovegraffiti.de for Arte TV– hosted by Dutch graffiti pioneer Mick La Rock. The events closed with the premiere of “Stencil Stories”, a groundbreaking film exploring the unknown century-long history of street art, directed by famed German scholar Ulrich Blanché.

A new Tag Conference

The fair was, again, a great experience. Throughout the weekend the Museum saw a continuous flow of graffiti fans meeting each other, checking books, attending talks, chatting with publishers and printing their own Unlock custom greeting cards at the stall of local printers BuchDruckKunst, who brought their antique letterpress equipment.

But all that was not enough! The Unlock team was back at the Museum for Hamburg History three weeks after the fair for The Tag Conference, our long-running academic meeting about name-writing in public space, this time produced in partnership with the Hamburg University and presented as part of the program of EINE STADT WIRD BUNT. Click here for the program and images of the conference.

We cannot be more grateful to the awesome EINE STADT WIRD BUNT team for their professionality and flair, in particular to Mirko Reisser, and of course to the Museum for Hamburg History for hosting the fair at their beautiful venue.

A big thank-you as well to all the publishers, speakers and visitors, you made the event. See you at our next feast of graffiti books and zines! 📚🔥❤️🎉

Unlock Book Fair