‘Slow’ Art published
This catalogue introduces the work and ideas of 7 Chinese abstract artists
We were asked by art collector Lao Fu to design the catalogue that accompanies the traveling exhibition ‘Chinese Abstract Slow Art’ which features the work of 7 contemporary Chinese abstract artists. Instead of taking a conventional approach in which the art work is presented in its own section, we took a more lively and fluent take on an artistic catalogue. By mixing the works of art with details, interviews between the artists and the collector as well as photographs taken in and around the artists studios we enable the viewer/user to truly experience the narrative which introduces the reader to Chinese abstract art, the art of collecting and the reasoning behind the exhibition.
For the cover design we translated an exceptionally visual description of the painting process, as written by one of the artists, Shen Chen, into braille. At first glance the braille may appear to be superficial decoration, but after the reader opens up to the content of the catalogue the actual meaning of the braille becomes clear. The braille traces the process of painting, creating a complete understanding of how movement and space relate to the visual result; even if one could never actually see the artwork, it is possible to experience what is referred to as ‘Slow Art’. The translation of the braille passages can be discovered on both end pages of the catalogue. The Eastern tale of ‘Blind men and an Elephant’ is used as a metaphor in the book to describe the unknown aspects an often overlooked part of the contemporary Chinese art scene, Chinese abstract art. “Let’s take a moment and pretend that you are blind and completely unaware of what an elephant is. Now imagine that your hand is placed on, for example, the leg of an elephant. You might be led to think that the leg is the elephant. However, if another blind person touches the trunk of the animal, he might think that this trunk is the elephant. The philosophical idea within this Chinese parable states that one, objective ‘truth’ doesn’t exist. In some ways we are all, more or less, blind, unable to know what the entire ‘truth’ is. The same image of the elephant is applicable to the Chinese art world. If you look at what is being presented as contemporary art, in exhibitions, in galleries, at auctions, one could be under the impression that only the realistic art, that has been booming over the past 20 years, is Chinese art? But there is so much more!”