Chinese Binding - Chinese Editorial Design Today
地点：Kulturkeller Winkel, Winkelriedstrasse 12, 6003 Lucerne
Venue: Kulturkeller Winkel, Winkelriedstrasse 12, 6003 Lucerne
Exhibition's Duration: 29th September – 7th October 2018 (daily, 12:00-18:00)
Opening: Introducion with Jianping He 29th September (SAT), 14:00
CHINESE BINDING - CHINESE EDITORIAL DESIGN TODAY
The exhibition presents the work of Chinese book designers today, which is characterised by a hybrid of traditional methods and modern means. Contemporary aesthetics are shaped by centuries-old craftsmanship as well as advanced technologies.
The exhibition presents an overview of Chinese book design and bookbinding today. The works shown in the exhibition are influenced by the designers’ various backgrounds and origins but also by traditional craftsmanship as well as modern techniques. The different approaches and aesthetics proof that contemporary Chinese editorial design is as dynamic and vibrant as ever.
Guang Yu, Xiao Mage & Chengzi, Liu Xiaoxiang, He Jianping, Zhao Qing, Pan Yanrong, Fang Jianping & Ding Fan, Qu Minmin, Zhou Weiwei, Ma Shirui, Sun Xiaoxi, Wang Xu, Mei Shuzhi, Lian Jie, Hou Ying, Xia Yu
Curation: Jianping He (Berlin)
Scenography: Wanja Manzardo (Lucerne) and Samuel Steiner (Lucerne)
The term "Chinesische Bindung", for the people of China, basically belongs to the past, all of a sudden going back to the Ming Dynasty, around 1400 AD. Most of the classic woodcut- lined books have a sapphire blue cover, glued with white rice papers, with the book name inked by a vintage woodcut. Of course, that was the first heyday of book distribution and design in Chinese history. That era even matched with the views put forward by John Ruskin and William Morris during The Arts & Crafts Movement, emphasizing the combination of art and crafts, promoting the use of small factories and manual labor instead of impersonal machine production. In the Ming Dynasty in the 15th century, the mode of employing skillful craftsmen and small workshops was most prevailing. Almost all the production via means of hand-made made each version subtly different, creating the unique book binding mode of “ Chinesische Bindung" : taking a long time to write the text on the board, and printing on the thin and fluttering rice paper with ink. Because the paper was very thin, it was folded in half to increase the thickness, and stitched with soft lines. This " Chinesische Bindung" book print and design model has become the most important knowledge carrier in Asia, continuing the cultures of the continent.
The contemporary Chinese book design, from a model point of view, is almost indirectly related to the tradition of "Chinesische Bindung" . In today's Chinese printing factory, the printing machines‘ brand is either Heidelberg or Mitsubishi; for papers, Antalis or Monken; the designer's tools are almost all replaced with the Mac, using nothing more than Adobe software. We are in an era where there is no information lag. What happened today in Luzern was also spread in Hangzhou. The power of the media and its convenience saturate the confidence. The overflow of design information is disrupting the traditional design style of each country. The pursuit of personal styles has become a prerequisite of ambitious designers for building a professional career. The contemporary Chinese book design, on the whole, is not very different from that of any European country. If you don't believe it, you can find conclusive evidence in Chinese bookstores, the ELLE magazine just undergoes a language change; Taschen's multilingual catalogue doesn't even replace the language; Helvetica's 50th anniversary book looks almost the same as in Switzerland.
There is a saying in China, the unique features of a local environment always give special characteristics to its inhabitants. After all, the culture is delicate with some temperamental differences. Designers are quick to find such subtle differences because of the keen need for careers. Chinese people's respect for words makes designers generally have the habit of thorough reading in advance concerning the content in designing, and the understanding of content becomes the main support for their design forms. In terms of printing, although there is no way to make major changes due to hardware (printing machine) restrictions, they are more willing to present the printed content on different papers. This kind of attempt, at printing plants in Europe, is not tried first due to insiders‘ unwillingness generally intended to maintain the machine or retain the standard printing process. But in Chinese printing houses, these attempts have attracted designers, indirectly bringing huge printing business. Paper and binding are the two major characteristics of Chinese book design, the prerequisite of which is that labor is much cheaper than in Europe. The greater the paper change in the same book, the more components are manually manipulated, which is difficult to achieve in an environment where more and more machines are utilized in manufacturing in Europe. Meanwhile, in the binding process, it is found that the pattern of the stitching after folding the paper in the “Chinesische Bindung” has been retained. However, contemporary Chinese book designers have hardly made today's book production in full accordance with the traditional “Chinesische Bindung”. They often take one of these elements, such as the elements of the line, stitching, the paper-folding, the paste amongst others, while combining with the contemporary design to carry out the modern interpretation of the traditional way. In any case, bit by bit, the craftsmanship of these ancient “Chinesische Bindung”was not only inherited, but also re-generated from the destruction of the Cultural Revolution.
The unique feelings of the Chinese people on the books have played a significant role in the special aesthetics accordingly, which lies at the exchange of paper and hand touch in reading, the subtle hues of white paper, a book with different papers, the matching amongst calligraphy, text and rice paper and other details, leading to the prosperity of book design in China nowadays.
Of all the Chinese book designers who participated in the Weltformat Design Festival this time, some specialize in design books as a single profession, some might accept various graphic design work in daily life, and book design is one of his jobs, some write and publish books and design their own books as both author and designer, some also work as a full- time book designer in the publishing house while being a freelance designer...... they are graphic designers with different identity from diverse cities and regions in China, showcasing unlike cultures in life and large gaps in ages. Among the participants, there are even mentoring relationships. However, their book designs represent the most dynamic and influential group in contemporary China.
At last, I’d like to make some correction. In German, the binding method of the wire-bound book is called "Japanische Bindung", which should be called "Chinesische Bindung", as the wire-bound book model was introduced into Japan during the Edo period (17th century) from China. This has been passed for so many years, and no one has raised any doubts. At least, it is misunderstood in the West that the line-bound book started in Japan. Perhaps, the long-time closure of the country in China's history has blocked cultural exchanges between the country and overseas, leaving misunderstandings and regrets in history. Communication is not only the best way to solve problems, but also a way of self-learning. Jung once said that others' understanding of us is often better than our understanding of ourselves. I hope that this exhibition will become a favorable way to enhance communication.
5th July 2018, Berlin
参展设计师：广煜、小马哥+橙子、刘晓翔、何见平、赵清、潘焰荣、方建平+丁凡（United Design Lab）、曲闵民、周伟伟、马仕睿、孙晓曦、王序、梅数植、连杰、侯颖、夏宇
展览空间设计：Wanja Manzardo（卢塞恩）、Samuel Steiner（卢塞恩）
“线装”这个词，对于中国人来说，基本属于过去式。仿佛突然上溯到明代，公元一千四百年左右。那些经典的木刻线装本，大多有着宝蓝色封面，贴着白色宣纸，用老式木刻墨印的书名。当然，那是中国历史上书籍发行和设计的第一次鼎盛时期。那个时代甚至吻合John Ruskin和William Morris在“艺术与手工艺运动”时提出的观点。强调艺术与手工艺的结合，提倡启用小工厂和手工劳动，代替没有个性的机器生产。在公元15世纪的明代，几乎都是用娴熟的手工艺人和小作坊的模式，几乎全部是手工的制作，令每个版本都有细微区别。却开创了“线装”这种独一无二的书籍装帧模式：耗时良久地在木板上刻出文字，用墨印刷在薄如蝉翼的宣纸上，因为纸张薄，居中对折来增加厚度，再用柔软的线，进行缝合。这种“线装”的印刷和设计书的模式，成为在亚洲最重要的知识承载物，延续了亚洲的文化。