Tonight: Opening Party!

Tonight is the opening party of China meets Norway in a Bookshelf! If you are in Beijing you are most welcome to join us. Read more about it at this Timeout Beijing article or here in Chinese. 

We have a great program of presentations and performances, it will be a lot of fun! Everything starts at 6pm, at Meridian.

/Cecilie

A quick Hi from Beijing

Finally we're in Beijing, after almost 18 hours in the air and on airports! The rain is pouring down, it's hot and humid, but it's wonderful to be here. 

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The Automated People Mover! Perhaps not as sci-fi as we first thought, but it (and other people movers like it) got us safely into the city. 

The Automated People Mover! Perhaps not as sci-fi as we first thought, but it (and other people movers like it) got us safely into the city. 

We're now getting set up in the Meridian Space. This place is situated in an old printing factory in the Dongcheng district, as a part of a cluster of active cultural organizations. I will tell you more about it tomorrow! Now much needed sleep awaits, before a studio visit and a workshop tomorrow morning. I'll bring my pocket-wifi and share some pictures of that as well.

/Cecilie

 
China meets Norway in a bookshelf, at Meridian Space!

China meets Norway in a bookshelf, at Meridian Space!

 

We're going to Beijing!

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Dear readers!

So far Anki has been writing to you about Northing and Bergen Zines’ adventures in Shanghai, and you have also been introduced to a number of wonderful Norwegian artists working with books (more of those presentations coming up, by the way). Now I am taking over the blog. My name is Cecilie A. Størkson, and I’m a Norwegian art historian, art gallery manager and art writer, with a particular devotion to artistic printed matter and art book fairs. Together with some of the Norwegian artists you’ve already read about, as well as Ben and Yiley from Northing and Fredrik and Raquel from Bergen Zines, I will now travel to Beijing. Today, in fact! This whole day will be spent at airports and on planes, in other words this is the perfect opportunity for me to introduce myself to you, and to tell you a bit about what I will be sharing with you on this blog the coming week.

First a bit about my background. My interest in self publishing and do-it-yourself culture was evoked through Bergen Zines. As you perhaps already know, Bergen Zines is a Norwegian organization that in addition to running Bergen Art Book Fair hosts what they call “fanzine evenings”. These fanzine evenings are open to everyone, and anyone can bring their own fanzines to sell there. Typically they are held at bars or cafés. At such an event you’ll find people drawing, talking, laughing, reading fanzines and drinking beer. It is a very open environment, where creatives from all kinds of different fields meet - writers, artists, designers, illustrators, photographers, as well as people who doesn’t have creative professions, but who make their own zines anyway. Fanzine evenings are playful and low-key, totally devoid of the stiffness that sometimes dominate events in the professional art world. It is an exciting yet safe place to try out new things, get new ideas and inspiration, and just have fun. Needless to say it’s a place that makes you want to stay and join in, and that is what I did.

 
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Fanzine evening in Bergen, at the neighborhood café and bar Nobel Bopel 

Fanzine evening in Bergen, at the neighborhood café and bar Nobel Bopel 

 

For two years or so I offered my assistance to Bergen Zines, and I also took part in establishing Bergen Art Book Fair. During those two years I gained both valuable experience and strong friendships. I guess that’s why I (even today) rarely miss out on a chance to do some work together with Anki, Fredrik and the rest of the Bergen Zines crew. We have travelled together to art book fairs in both New York and Tokyo, trips that have deepened my understanding of the art book/DIY/self publishing culture - a culture which has been growing extensively the last decade. The work I’ve done together with Bergen Zines has inspired many of my texts about different tendencies within this culture.

From the last Bergen Art Book Fair, at Bergen Kunsthall

From the last Bergen Art Book Fair, at Bergen Kunsthall

At art book fairs I often experience the same kind of atmosphere that characterize the fanzine evenings held in Bergen. Most of them come across as friendly, relaxed and accessible arenas. What an excellent starting point for connecting to new people and discovering new works of art, right? That also seems to be what the collaborators Northing, Bergen Zines and Meridian Art Space think. In Beijing these three organizations are arranging an art book fair that focuses specifically on the meeting between Norwegian and Chinese art book culture. And this fair, my reader friends, is what I will be writing to you about the coming week. The fair China meets Norway in a bookshelf opens at the 23rd of August and lasts until the 26th. My mission is to blog about not only what happens at the fair, but also what takes place before and after it opens, and what happens in it’s surroundings. I will try to communicate the vibe from the fair for you who cannot be there in person, and even attempt to give you an insight in the process of making an art book fair. I will write about meetings with artists, and about events at the fair - workshops, discussions and seminars. And of course I’ll show you some of the fantastic books that are being sold at the fair! Looking forward to share this adventurous week with all of you!

/Cecilie

SHANGHAI PICTURE POST

When in Shanghai, our internet connection was not the best to say the least, so all our pictures had to wait to be shared till we got back home on Norwegian ground and with a steady wifi. 

Our stay in Shanghai began at the risoprinter and publisher Bananafish / Pausebread, where our Norwegian participants met with Chinese counterparts Cindy Sun, Chaoyu Li, Liu Jinzi and Xiao Longhua to make a publication together in a 1-day workshop. 

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With teams of two we collaborated on each page of the book, that explored the theme "habitat". 

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Each page were then printed on the 2-color risograph in 200 editions. At midnite we were finally finished, and could start the assembly line:

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The publication will be available in Norway at this years Bergen Art Book Fair in October!

 The next day we returned to Bananafish to launch the publication, as part of their presentation series Binding Talk. Below some pictures from Bananafish's instagram:

The next days were spent at Minsheng Museum, where we had a special spot at this years Art Book China!

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Åshild did a little drawing performance with black ink on A3 sheets of paper taped to the wall. The drawings were later signed and sold.

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The fair was not very big, compared to others in New York and Tokyo, but it was pretty crowded every day, and artist's books and zines seems to be on the rise in China – where self-published books isn't technically legal.

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The museum had a wonderful roof top terrace were you could look closely at the decorative construction of the buildning, and with a very nice view over the Expo area in Pudong (where the World Expo 2010 was held)

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Jessica and Christian appeared on the local tv news in Shanghai! They were also interviewed by a japanese tv network, but we have yet to find this online. Video below!

To finish this post (on an unrelated note regarding art books) we need to share one of our food adventures! This strange bacon "cake" with ice and flowers got the attention of all our cameras when visiting a hot pot resturant:

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Thank you to Bananafish, Art Book China, thank you to all the artists collaborating with us at the workshop at Bananafish, thank you to all the other wonderful people that we met, thank you to Art World for having us on a studio visit, and thank you Shanghai for the great food!

/Anki

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3Q&A with Åshild Kanstad Johnsen

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1. Which of the qualities of the book (as a form and a concept) do you appreciate the most?

It’s very concrete; orientation is from the beginning to the end, so you don’t get lost. On the web there’s too many possibilities. With a book, you print and it’s finished. You can not change later on. It’s done. I like it. I like sketchbooks; I find them more interesting than finished products. Everything unfinished is good. Thats why I’m a messy illustrator.

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2. Tell us about your most recent publication/book work/fanzine!

I’m in the process of making my second Ulla and Bendik-book. Working title: Everything is wrong. It’s a picture book. At the idea stage; the most fun stage.

3. What are your experiences when it comes to book fairs?

Too hectic, too many people, too many things going on. But also exciting. I get creative (afterwards).

3Q&A with Christian Tunge

1. Which of the qualities of the book (as a form and a concept) do you appreciate the most?

For me as an artist that don’t have a set style or theme I’m always working with, I like the book’s ability to introduce and finish a project at the very same time. Working with book’s I get the opportunity the dive into a concept or topic, make the book, and then start on something completely different.  

The Games, 2016

The Games, 2016

2. Tell us about your most recent publication/book work/fanzine!

I’m actually launching a new publication/book work/fanzine at the aBC in Shanghai this week. It’s called “Apophenia”, which is the tendency to attribute meaning to perceived connections or patterns between seemingly unrelated things. The publications is a spin off on another project I’m working on. The pictures didn’t really fit and I thought it would be interesting to see if I could make it into a book of it’s own. In the book, two series of images are presented in a sequence. One is of what can seem like random people, with a large variety in social background, ethnicity and gender, who move over a white tiled square. You can’t tell where they are going or where they are coming from. The other series is still life photos of a single sheet from an edition of The Los Angeles Times. In the different images the paper is formed into sculptural objects highlighting a recent news story.

Apophenia, 2017

Apophenia, 2017

Apophenia, 2017

Apophenia, 2017

Apophenia, 2017

Apophenia, 2017

3. That are your experiences when it comes to book fairs?

From the very get go book fairs have been a big part of what Heavy Books is. The first five publications was launched at the One Thousand Art Book Fair in Copenhagen. I usually attend two or three book fairs every year and use them as a deadline to create now books and editions. Heavy Books is all about spreading the work of young artist, and book fairs are a great place to meet other artists, publishers, curators and gallerist to present the work and create new collaborations.  

New York Art Book Fair 2014

New York Art Book Fair 2014

3Q&A with Jessica Willams

1. Which of the qualities of the book (as a form and a concept) do you appreciate the most?

The inherent intimacy of books is perhaps my favorite thing about them as a format. The one on one experience is something special.

2. Tell us about your most recent publication/book work/fanzine!

While in Philadelphia for a two person exhibition this past May, I produced a quick artist’s book on the gallery’s Risograph machine. The publication is called “Not ready for this world” and is a mash-up of poems I wrote in 2012 and photographs from the island of Svalbard taken last year. It is a two-color and two-paper little book, with the available materials and tools dictating the form and expression of content. This particular Risograph wasn’t hooked up to a computer, so everything was scanned using the built-in flatbed scanner.

Not ready for this world, 2017

Not ready for this world, 2017

3. What are your experiences when it comes to book fairs?

In 2005, while an art student in New York City, I interned at Printed Matter: making coffee, running errands, sorting books and the like. By that time, I had already been making my own zines for a few years. Every Friday I loved spending hours in that little on 22nd Street, which has since moved to a much bigger space on 11th Avenue. In the fall of 2006, I received a call from my old boss there asking if I could work at this new thing they were putting together: the first ever NY Art Book Fair. Before this fair, which acted as a bridge between the high and low, young and old, the majority of the others that displayed artist’s books were either internal for the industry or specialized in blue-chip printmaking editions.

Slow Education, 2013

Slow Education, 2013

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2013

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2013

In 2011, I started my first artist’s publishing venture called North, South, East, West (NSEW). In the four years that I worked under that name, I traveled to fairs in places like Oslo, Copenhagen, Vilnius, Antwerp, Tokyo and Milan. Each fair was different and I felt like I learned something new each time, both when it came to artist’s books and the respective host countries. In 2014, the last year of the press, I finally returned to the NY Art Book Fair as an exhibitor. Full circle. Last year I began publishing again, but under a new name: Hverdag Books. This new press is primarily a personal project and thus far I have only published my own works through it. With Hverdag I have traveled to Bergen and soon Shanghai.

Bergen Art Book Fair 2016

Bergen Art Book Fair 2016

Hello from Shanghai!

Ni hao ma!

Welcome to our first post within the China meets Norway in a Bookshelf-project! This project is about sharing and discussing Chinese and Norwegian culture within the art book field and children's books in both countries.

The project is a collaboration between Northing (who works with translation of children's books), and Bergen Zines (who work with event focusing on zines and artist’s books), who both have their base in Bergen. Our Chinese collaborators are Bananafish Pausebread (risostudio in Shangahi), the Art Book China fair in Shanghai and the art space Meridian in Beijing.

We will in this blog share our experiences and meetings throughout the project in both Shanghai and Beijing!

We are now in Shanghai, and Anki from Bergen Zines will keep you posted throughout this following week, where we will make a book, have lecture and book launches, and attend the Art Book China. 

In Beijing art historian Cecilie Størkson will take the blog wheel, and explore the event at Meridian Space through her experience. Anki and Cecilie have worked together before in Bergen Zines, with the first edition of Bergen Art Book Fair. Together they have also travelled to New York Art Book Fair (2014) and Tokyo Art Book Fair (2016), where Cecilie has been an independent part with her own publishing projects. This time she has been invited by Bergen Zines to give you a view of the project in Beijing, which is the making of an Norwegian art book fair outside of Norway!

China meets Norway in a bookshelf

Section from Mads Andersens zine Discovery, which will be part of the books shown in Shanghai and Beijing.

Section from Mads Andersens zine Discovery, which will be part of the books shown in Shanghai and Beijing.

China meets Norway in a bookshelf is a cultural exchange project with the purpose of promoting Norwegian art books, picture books and illustrated books in China through exhibitions, book markets, seminars, workshops and other unofficial activities. The project focuses on young artists and illustrators from or based in Norway and their works that reflecting nowadays Norwegian subcultures. 

We have selected and invited artists to visit China, to meet local artists with similar interests to inspire each other and be inspired. 

This blog will follow the events in Shanghai (art book in China) and Beijing (China meets Norway in a bookshelf) during August 2017.

Organised by Northing, and Bergen Zines. Kindly supported by Bergen Municipality, Grafill, NORLA, OCA and Norwegian Embassy in China.