Peiyu Shen’s passion for the visual arts including photography, publishing, ink-based printing and graphic design, has seen her taking frequent trips around the world in search of the unusual and often bizarre independent publications found in local bookstores of whichever city she happens to be in, with her own Taiwan-based bookstore and publishers, Shen Shi Shu Ju, then housing these works. On the following five books, Peiyu says, "The timeless designs and printing styles of each book and publication together with their unique content allow for each reader to immerse themselves in an exciting new world. They are certainly permanent fixtures in my own collection."
Gouffre 3 published by Lagon, a French publishing house, is a comic collection that I don’t think I’ll ever tire of reading. There are comic works from 35 artists around the globe printed in three ways including offset printing, silk printing, and Riso, each in special pigments with different paper materials to match the respective contents. Careful consideration is given to everything in this collection, from content editing to paper and printing, and every time you open the book you feel like you’re reading a whole encyclopedia of comics. Whenever I show any of my friends this book, they can’t help but marvel at it.. It’s just so beautiful.
There Is No Future / Now is the Past
Last year, Taiwanese artist Hai Hsin Huang and book publisher nos:book joined forces to create two books, There Is No Future and Now Is the Past, each in both a small and large version. The contents are mainly made up with sketch works of Hai Hsin Huang from the past two years, with each image depicting the life of the artists displayed in New York Metropolitan Museum. During the production of this book, I happened to be visiting the nos:books studio as I find their practices of page-by-page hand press printing, book-by-book cutting and coloring extremely interesting. It’s a wonderful pair of books that are undoubtedly the result of a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
The ceramic food-based work in this book originates from artist Xiang Rong Chen’s series Bing Guo Shi (Ice fruit shop). Xiang drew inspiration for this from the geometric shaped clay sculptures that traditionally originated in Bing Guo Shi in Taiwan that depict colorful, tasty fruit cubes piling into a freezer. Xiang Rong Chen purifies the impressions and then modifies them into uniquely-shaped ceramic works that symbolize daily life. Xiang Rong Chen’s studio is located in his own apartment in a space adjacent to the kitchen, and in theme with the nature of this book, he likes to cook when he wants to relieve the stress from work. In Food Pose, Xiang returns to the the kitchen, dismantles and reorganizes the food in the fridge and puts them back together like pieces of a puzzle with each ceramic responding to and interpreting each other.
I really enjoy the realistic and humorous nature of the Netherlands-based magazine Ordinary, the fine art photography journal that collects creations from more than 20 artists around the world. Each artist bases their creations on “ordinary” things, each presented in an extraordinary and fascinating way.
When artist Ting Zheng moved to London in 2010, she introduced the language and culture of her new environment into her creations. Due to an overwhelming feeling of home sickness, she had the idea of hand-making steamed bread native to home of China. For Ting, baking bread calms her soul and transports her back home, with the physical activity of kneading dough, baking bread and the scents that naturally come with this activity transporting her home. Soon enough, Ting decided to combine her love of bread with her love of braiding - quite literally - and so Baker Salon was born, a book that sees elaborate hair designs adorned with a variety of equally elaborate bread delicacies.