8 Books from Asia

Gerhard Steidl is without doubt a globetrotter in all things photobook. He visits artists, curates exhibitions and gives lectures on his passion of passions: bookmaking. And on his travels he’s been again and again amazed by the great interest shown – particularly by young booklovers –in the often declared-dead medium of the book.

In spring 2016 Steidl initiated the exhibition “1001 Steidl Books” at DECK in Singapore. Here DECK, an independent platform for art and photography, transformed its exhibition modules, rough forty-foot sea freight containers, into a library. The result was an exhibition of a thousand books, through which a decade of bookmaking (2005–2015) was laid bare for all to see: layout, typography, paper, printing, binding.

On the occasion of the exhibition artists from all across Asia were invited to submit book dummies for a new competition, the Steidl Book Award Asia. From the many books Gerhard Steidl finally chose eight: “The submissions were all so strong, so surprising and varied, that it would have been unfair to just choose one.” And as with every Steidl book, the award winners will travel to Göttingen to make their books. Together with art director Theseus Chan and Gerhard Steidl, in January 2017 they will design their books and be present as the sheets roll off the press. All eight books will be published in a box with the title 8 Books for Asia. The award winners are: Broy Lim (Singapore) And Now They Know, Jake Verzosa (the Philippines) The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga, Jongwoo Park (South Korea) DMZ, Kapil Das (India) Lumpy Gravy, Robert Zhao (Singapore) A Guide to Flora and Fauna of the World, Woong Soak Teng (Singapore) Ways to Tie Trees, Yukari Chikura (Japan) fluorite fantasia, and Zhang Lijie (China) Midnight Tweedle.

On the occasion of the Tokyo Art Book Fair in fall 2016, the inaugural Steidl Book Award Japan will be bestowed, a prize that is to be granted annually. Here too the winner will have his or her book published by Steidl.

The adventure is then set to continue, eventually taking the Steidl Book Award to all of the continents (perhaps not Antarctica!) The next prize will be the Steidl Book Award Africa.