Sumi Perera & 15:1

15 to 1

15 to 1

The 15 artists’ books in this touring exhibition were made by postgraduate students studying for a MA in Graphic Design at the Central Academy for Fine Art in Bejing. London based artist Sumi Perera taught an artist book module there over a period of two weeks in December 2007.


The 15 books show a wide variety of techniques as the students explore the medium of artist’s bookmaking, from the more conventional, but exquisitely realised, I Ching Book of Changes (Zhi Jun Wang) to the imaginative Thinking Plaster Tape. The Book of Changes, reflecting on its subject matter, builds its coherence from the continuity of a painted line running through all the paper pages in this stab bound work. Text (in Chinese) is printed on acetate showing and reflecting on the painted line/road/path beneath. Thinking Plaster Tape (Zhai Wen Si) explores thinking activity. The ‘book’ comes in a sewn, zipped cover, ‘a white round bag that looks if our brain’, and out of the cover comes 2 sets of instructions/explanations (in English and Chinese) together with a ball of tape. Different sorts of tape in the ball reveal different patterns of thinking, such as collecting information, or studying it. Using the concertina format Zhang Zi Long in Mr Empty’s Publishing House explores the concept of filling bookshelves with empty binders. What look like old red gilded versions of Shakespeare’s plays are merely empty sham, paper thin and nothing behind them.

In Chinese these artists’ books rely on their visual content alone for ‘reader’ exploration. Mostly in black and white shape/ cut out becomes more important. In Flowering Smoke (Ren Shan Shan) the pages have been burnt out consecutively to produce the palimpsest of a charred edged flower while in Person (Shun Zhi Hua) the Chinese ideograph for person runs throughout the book but cut up gradually.

Removing literal, translated, meaning from the text allows a new way of seeing the book as a visual, physical presence, something which these Bejing graphics students have exploited.

[Bookartists :Zhi Jun Wang, Ji Yu Jie, Jia Ge, Wian Qian Ge, Shun Zhi Hua, Zhou Wen Jun, Qu Lei, Zhia Wen Si, Ren Shan Shan, Zhang Zi Long, Cheng Zhu Shan, Shi Xiao Hui, Wang Shunshun, Tu Ya, Li Zheng & Sumi Perera ]


  • University of West England, Bristol. May 2008

  • Liverpool Artist Bookfair. Wolstenholme Projects, Liverpool. November 2008

  • 12th  International Contemporary Artists’ Book Fair, Parkinson Court, University of

Leeds. March 2009

  • BABE 2009, Arnolfini, Bristol. April 2009
  • Moufflon Bookshop. Cyprus. June – July 2009
  • Frankfurt Bookfair, BuchDruckKunst e.V. Germany. 14-18th October 2009
  • 25SG Gallery, 25 Stratford Grove, Newcastle. 19th-20th June 2010

  • Gallery North Artists’ Bookfair. Newcastle.  26th June 2010
  • Sunderland Book Project. Washington Arts Centre. 3rd September-5th November 2011
  • Turn The Page Artist Bookfair. The Forum, Norwich. 4th & 5th May 2012
  • Press & Release. Phoenix, Brighton. 27th April- 9th June 2013


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